Will & Living Will

Your will and your living will are two unique documents, but they serve a common purpose: protecting your wishes in the event that you are no longer able to do so for yourself. In many ways, they are the most important legal documents you will ever create. AK Wills and Trusts can guide you through designing documents that will be a credit to your estate and simplify your loved one’s lives.

Will & Living Will

Your will allows you to dictate what happens to your material possessions, investments, properties, pets, and any minor children after your death. If you have specific wishes regarding your funeral and burial, you may include those as well. It prevents disagreements among relatives and friends and makes sure that the things that matter most to you are taken care of.

Your living will is just as important for different reasons, making sure that you remain in charge of the details concerning your well-being and end-of-life decisions should you no longer be able to express them for yourself. A living will  is now known as an Alaska Advance Health Care Directive.

People delay these end-of-life legal documents for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because they’re concerned about the finality of decisions surrounding them. Sometimes it’s because wills are about what happens after we are no longer in control. And it’s a difficult topic. But in a way, it’s one of the greatest gifts we can give to those who love us.

We discuss Alaska Advance Health Care Directives in more detail here.   Right now, let’s talk about some of the details surrounding wills, how they work, and the decisions involved.

Step One: Writing Your Will

There are a number of options available for how to accomplish this. And it all depends on your goals, how much personal property you have, whether you have minor children, and how much money you will be leaving. While every will is a little different, the information within generally includes:

  1. How to disperse personal property, real estate, and investments.
  2. Who the executor or personal representative will be.
  3. Who will take care of your minor children, if any. (Guardian)
  4. Who you manages your minor children’s assets?
  5. How you want your funeral and burial handled.

You can change your will and Alaska Health Care Directive whenever you want and an annual review ensures they are up to date.

Choosing Your Executor

Your executor is responsible for administering your estate according to the instructions in your will.   So choose this person wisely. Their responsibility is greater than just dispersing material wealth.

The executor in your will and the agent in your Alaska Advance Health Care directive can be different people.

Choosing a Guardian

The will is the only document where you can state who you want to take care of your minor children.  This person will be the guardian for your children.  Taking time to choose a guardian lets your family and friends know who you have chosen.

Take these factors into account when selecting a guardian.

  • Though you probably have relatives willing to assist in a crisis, is there someone who genuinely welcomes this responsibility? Someone who would love them the way you do and would be happy to parent them?
  • Is the person you’re thinking of willing to alter their lifestyle to care for your children? Despite someone’s willingness to take on the role of a guardian, their job or other circumstances may limit their availability unless they are ready to change their lives. Are they flexible enough to do this?
  • What kind of life do you envision for your children? Does this person’s views align with your values and parenting strategies? A two-parent family isn’t always necessary. The ability to adapt and remain flexible is crucial as your children settle into their new family.
  • Finally, can your designated guardian afford to take on your family? And if you have money set aside for your children’s care, can the guardian be trusted to make sure those funds are used for your children?

What Happens After My Death?

Upon your death, the executor will likely speak to an attorney and determine whether probate is needed.

Probate is the court process to distribute your property according to the will’s instructions.  It can be a costly and time-consuming procedure, especially if it’s not done correctly. So, it’s important for your executor to hire an Alaska estate attorney such as AK Wills to ensure everything is done correctly. Making sure your will is in order and in agreement with your insurance policies, bank accounts, and other assets is of utmost importance. If not, your estate could be stuck in probate for an extended period.

Want More Information About How to Handle Your Will and Alaska Advance Health Care Directive?

The act of creating both a will and Alaska advance health care directive requires a lot of consideration. And neither should be undertaken without legal advice.

Our founder, Constance A. Aschenbrenner, has worked in Alaska since 1996 in different roles including private, corporate, and state practice. She created the Law Office of Constance A. Aschenbrenner in July, 2008. Serving the people of Alaska is her passion, and she finds fulfillment in helping them succeed.

Tap into the wealth of knowledge from an experienced Alaska Estate Planning Attorney before writing your will or Alaska advance health care directive. Our mission at the Law Office of Constance A. Aschenbrenner is to empower Alaska residents, one client at a time.

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