Clearly explaining the probate process
When a decedent dies without leaving a valid will, Alaska laws guide the distribution of the probate estate. This is called "intestate succession." The order of Intestate Succession is outlined in detail in A.S. 13.12.101-114. A general overview is outlined below, but does not include every detail of the statutory language.
if the decedent leaves no surviving children or parents, or if all of the decedent's surviving descendents are also children of the surviving spouse, then the decedent's surviving spouse inherits the entire estate.
If the decedent leaves both a surviving spouse and a surviving parent but no children, then the spouse inherits the first $200,000, plus 3/4 of any balance.
If the decedent leaves a surviving spouse, children who are also children of the surviving spouse, and step-children (children of the surviving spouse but not the decedent), then the spouse receives the first $150,000, plus 1/2 of the remaining intestate estate, while the decedent's children receive the balance.
If the decedent leaves a surviving spouse and children who are not the children of the surviving spouse, then the spouse receives the first $100,000, plus 1/2 of the remaining intestate estate, while the decedent's children receive the balance.
If there is no surviving spouse, the probate estate passes in the following order:
1. to the decedent's descendants by representation;
2. if there is no surviving descendant, to the decedent's parents equally or to the surviving parent;
3. if there is no surviving descendant or parent, to the descendants of the decedent's parents or either of them by representation;
4. if there is no surviving descendant, parent, or descendant of a parent, then half the estate passes to the decedent's paternal grandparents and half to the maternal grandparents. If the grandparents do not survive, it passes to the descendants of the grandparents by representation.
5. If there are no survivors under the above scheme, then the estate escheats (passes) to the State of Alaska. (A.S. 13.12.105)