Personal Representatives Deeds in Alaska are governed by the Uniform Probate Code, found at sections 13.06 - 13.36 of the Alaska Statutes.
Use a personal representative's deed to devise or sell a decedent's real property in Alaska. The personal representative (PR) accepts a fiduciary duty to settle the decedent's estate according to the terms of the will (if one exists), and the relevant state and local laws. A PR may be designated in a will or appointed by the probate court when administration of the estate is opened.
Unless the title to real property passes automatically or a transfer on death deed is on record, the estate must go through probate. Probate is the court-directed process of transferring a decedent's assets to the person(s) entitled to receive it. (Note: Real property granted by the Secretary of the Interior to Native Alaskans, designated as restricted property, uses a separate procedure administered through the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs.)
Alaska recognizes informal and formal probate processes. Informal probate uses minimal court supervision and is the more common method. Formal probate requires more court supervision, and is an option for complex cases, such as when a will is contested, or there are disputes between devisees (persons named in a will to receive a decedent's property, also called beneficiaries). Administration of the estate officially begins with the issuance of letters (AS 13.16.015). These are either letters of administration (when the decedent dies without a will) or letters testamentary (when the decedent dies with a will). Once granted, the letters confirm the PR's authority to settle the decedent's estate.
The probate process varies slightly depending on whether the decedent left a will. A personal representative -- the person whose fiduciary duty is to settle the estate and distribute the decedent's remaining assets according to law -- is determined first by designation in a valid will (if applicable), and then in the following order: the spouse of decedent, if a bequest is made within a will to him or her; a devisee under a will; the spouse of the decedent, though no bequest is made to him or her in a will; any heir of the decedent; and finally, any creditor of the decedent after 45 days have passed (AS 13.16.065(a)).
The PR must execute and record a deed to pass a decedent's title to real property. In Alaska, personal representatives generally use a quitclaim deed to transfer title to a relative of the deceased. The quitclaim deed provides no warranty of title, and is appropriate for a fiduciary, who "does not know exactly what interest the person who died had in the property and does not want the estate to be responsible for promises about the property" . In some circumstances, such as when a buyer is purchasing the property and is not related to the decedent, a personal representative might offer a warranty deed after hiring a title company to research the title's history .
The deed should meet all formatting and content standards for documents pertaining to interest in real property in the State of Alaska, including the grantor's information, grantee information's and vesting, legal description of the subject property, and the source of the grantor's title. The personal representative's deed also includes the name of the decedent and the probate case number. Depending on the circumstances, the PR might also need to attach supplemental documentation. Verify any additional requirements with the probate court or an attorney. Each personal representative must sign the deed in the presence of a notary public before recording in the recording district wherein the property is located.
Mistakes in estate administration may open the personal representative to personal liability. Take time to review Alaska Statues Title 13, the resources available through the probate court, and, as always, consult an attorney for specific guidance on administering an estate in Alaska.
Deeds.com Alaska Personal Representative Deed Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Thursday May 16, 2019
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