Aerial view of Copper River.Wooden trim

Introduction to Probate

Videos courtesy of AlaskaLawHelp and authored by Alaska Legal Services Corp. 

“Probate” is the legal process by which a deceased person’s affairs are settled and their property distributed to those who are entitled to receive it. These videos cover the basic issues involved in probate. The first section discusses the role of a personal representative, the special protections for family members, the intestacy rules (how an estate is divided when there is no Testamentary Disposition or Will), and considerations in deciding whether “to probate or not to probate.” The second section discusses the actual probate process, from filing the probate petition to completing the work as the personal representative.

Inheritance of Ahtna Shares

NOTE: Under Alaska law, a deceased shareholder’s ANCSA stock does not go through the probate process. Instead, inheritance of the stock is handled by the Alaska Native Corporation that issued the shares.

To start the share inheritance process, Ahtna first looks to whether the shareholder completed a Testamentary Disposition (or TD) form that says how the shares should be distributed to the shareholder’s heirs. If there is no TD, Ahtna looks to whether the shareholder prepared a general will that determines who should receive the shares. If there is no TD or general will, the shares must be transferred to the shareholder’s heirs under the laws of intestate succession.

When a shareholder passes, family members should contact the Ahtna Shareholder Records Department as soon as possible.  The Shareholder Records staff can:
– Help the family apply for any Ahtna Memorial Benefit
– Inform the family whether the shareholder has a TD or general will on file with Ahtna
– Work with the family to determine heirs
– Provide other assistance and guidancee

The Basics of Probate

Introduction to Probate

The Role of the Personal Representative

Special Protections for Family Members


Immediately After Death

Probate Options

The Probate Process

Starting an Informal Probate Case

Procedures Following Appointment as Personal Rep

Special Procedures for Native Estates

Native Estates