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Putting your affairs in order through estate planning

Most Alaska residents would agree that thinking about their own deaths is not a pleasant experience. However, it is a necessary one in order to make sure that their families are taken care of after death. Estate planning allows individuals to put their affairs in order, which entails more than just figuring out who gets what and signing documents.

One of the goals of estate planning is to make the process easier, less stressful and smoother for surviving loved ones. This means going through numerous steps to make sure everything is in the proper order. For example, taking inventory of all property, along with notes regarding who should receive what items. This could help with drafting a will and/or trust. Digital assets, deposit accounts, retirement accounts and insurance policies also need to be identified as well.

Alaska elder law: Guardianship classes

An alarming percentage of the country's population does not have an estate plan. More than likely, this includes a great number of Alaska residents. If some of those residents reach a point where they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves, it may be necessary to ask the court to appoint them a guardian. When dealing with this elder law issue, the appointed individual will need to take guardianship classes.

Being a guardian is an immense responsibility. The person appointed will be making choices that affect the course of another person's life. Recognizing the importance of this position, the Alaska courts require new guardians to complete at least one hour of approved courses within 30 days of being appointed.

Social media use and your workers’ compensation claim

Suffering an injury at work can be devastating. Whether you sustained an injury out on a fishing boat on Alaskan waters, at a construction site in Anchorage or more, you may feel unsure of where to go from here. Most importantly, you may worry about how to make ends meet while you recover.

Most employers across Alaska provide injured employees with access to workers’ compensation. After suffering an injury, it is critical to report your injury as soon as possible and file a claim to gain access to the compensation you need. However, the process to pursue financial relief can become complicated, especially when social media is involved.

How long probate and estate administration take in Alaska?

When a resident of Alaska dies, surviving family members will eventually need to turn their attentions to closing out his or her estate. If you are in this position, you may wonder what to expect from probate and estate administration. How does it proceed? How long will it take?

Obtaining the answers to these and other questions could help alleviate any anxiety and stress you may feel regarding the process. First, no one can accurately predict just how long the process will take. Too many factors influence how much time is involved. However, if having an average time frame will help, it could take as little as nine months to one year.

Estate planning could continue well after documents are signed

Anchorage residents who decide to make plans to provide for their families after their deaths may believe their job is done once the documents are signed. That could be true in some cases, but if an individual's estate planning included a trust, more work needs to be done. An empty trust does not accomplish his or her goals.

It is necessary to transfer assets into the trust that a person intends for the beneficiaries of the trust. This is most often done three ways. The title of an asset can be changed, the beneficiary designation of an asset can be changed or ownership rights could be transferred to the trust. Which avenue is taken depends on the asset in question.

Most workers face the same risks for on-the-job injuries

What do people who work here in Alaska have in common with people who work anywhere else in the country? They all share the risk of suffering from certain on-the-job injuries. Even when employers and employees take precautions to prevent these common injuries, they can still occur and require time off work and medical care to properly recover.

Construction workers are already aware that falling is one of the most common injuries they can suffer while working, but this threat is not limited to those who work in this industry. Anyone who works at a height, or slips or trips, runs this risk. People suffer injuries from falls that range from bumps and bruises to spinal cord or head injuries to death.

Elder law emcompasses more than just your estate planning needs

The population of the country as a whole is getting older, and Alaska is no exception. As part of that process, the needs of those individuals change. Many people assume that elder law focuses solely on estate planning for older people with different needs than their younger counterparts have, but that is not necessarily the case.

Of course, estate planning is a large part of this area of law. Even if you do not think you will need Medicaid in order to get the care you need as you age, preparing for that eventuality does not hurt. There are different avenues you can take to make sure you can pursue government benefits should you need them.

The data for workplace injuries may surprise some in Alaska

Anchorage's employers are required to provide a safe workplace to their employees. When that does not happen, the potential for workplace injuries increases when compared to others who take the safety of their employees seriously. Even so, the data regarding on-the-job injuries may surprise some people.

Most people do not realize that somewhere in the United States, a worker suffers a workplace injury every seven seconds. Some of them are probably right here in Anchorage. That equates to around 510 injuries every hour and approximately 4.5 million a year. 

What estate planning documents make up a good plan?

Like other Alaska residents, you may be considering taking steps to care for your family in the event of your death and you in the event of your incapacitation. You may know that estate planning could accomplish these goals, but you may not be familiar with the documents that make it happen. Below is a brief description of the documents that make up a good estate plan.

A last will and testament represents the cornerstone of an estate plan. This document outlines who receives what portion of your estate. You can also include specific bequests (gifts) of certain items to certain individuals. It also appoints someone to handle the administration of your estate, including probate proceedings.

Suspicions that could delay probate and estate administration

Did one of your loved ones choose you to serve as executor of his or her estate? In this position, you will be responsible for the completion of numerous tasks that could present a challenge -- and that is if everything goes smoothly. When someone has suspicions about the validity of the will or your dedication to your duties, it could delay probate and estate administration, which could further complicate your duties and your dealings in an Alaska court.

It is not enough that someone is not happy with an inheritance. The individual expressing suspicions can only bring a case before an Alaska court for certain reasons. Several common reasons for contesting a will exist. For instance, someone may dispute your fitness to serve as executor or could allege that you are not fulfilling your duties.

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Law Office of Justin S. Eppler LLC

2525 Blueberry Rd
Suite 102
Anchorage, AK 99503

Phone: 907-302-5930
Fax: 907-677-6066
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