Disclaimer: the material provided on this site is general in nature, and is not intended to constitute legal advice for particular circumstances. No one should rely on this site in lieu of legal advice provided by a licensed Alaska  attorney who is experienced in Alaska law. If you have a legal question involving Alaska law, you should contact an Alaska lawyer experienced in this area. Alaska state laws, statutes, guidelines, administrative rules, and case law are constantly changing, and the author makes no guarantee that the information is currently accurate, although efforts are made to keep the information up-to-date. Furthermore, visiting this site alone does not constitute attorney-client privilege.

At the Law Office of Gary  L. Stapp, I understand how to insure my clients' estates are distributed according to their intentions.  I  provide thorough representation.  ~~ ​At the Law Office of Gary L. Stapp, I understand how to ensure my clients' estates are distributed according to their intentions. I provide thorough probate representation, including trust administration and probate litigation for family members with legitimate claims. I understand how a loved one's death can affect family members. When a loved one dies without a will, the probate process can destroy family bonds. I have more than 30 years of probate experience. I can use demand letters to create a compromise until all parties are happy. If the issues can't be worked out among family members, I can take the case to court. As part of my probate representation, I also provide extensive guidance for life insurance and homeowner's insurance issues.

Cost-Effective, Personable Service

As a long-time Alaskan I have strong community ties. I understand that every client's issue is unique, just as every client's financial situation is unique. I can review your case from every angle to help minimize your costs based on your needs. I also utilize efficient billing software to ensure you are charged appropriately. I am proud to provide legal services to my community. I offer sophisticated representation with the integrity and honesty of a small town lawyer. My reputation for providing effective, personable service is best demonstrated by my extensive involvement with the legal community, including almost daily coordination with other local attorneys. As a former military JAG officer, I also understand how legal issues can affect military families. I proudly offer my legal services to Alaska's military community.

Estate Planning Attorney

As an attorney in Fairbanks, I realize we all  do our best to prepare for the future.  We have worked hard for our money and assets and are careful to make sure our family is provided for. Yet, time and time again families turn on each other to fight over the children and/or assets of a loved one who died unexpectedly, and left no will.  Don't put your family in that position.   

Everyone knows they should do estate planning, but most people put it off.  Doing some essentials can save the people you care about a lot of headaches and money too.  So put away the guilt, and review this simple TO DO list:

  •  Write a will. There are two main  reasons you need a will.  First, if you have children then you need to make it clear what your wishes are for who would raise them  in the event of your death.  This is terribly important, and a lack of a will has caused some families to  suffer through years of legal problems and huge expense.  Make your wishes known in writing.  It is the kindest thing you can do. 
  • The second  reason to have a will is if you have assets.  Again put it in writing who will  get what in the event of your death.  You will save family members from agonizing over this question, and possibly taking legal action against each other.
  • Know where your resources  are going . Many of your assets do not go  through  your will.  For example,  retirement accounts, life insurance proceeds, jointly owned real estate or vehicles, and many other items are jointly owned.  Check to see who will inherit these things upon your death.  Just so you know...it will give you peace of mind.
  • Retirement plans are good.  Have one. Your spouse has automatic legal right to this upon your death.
  • Make your choices.  Some  people  do not want to leave anything to their children.  It is their right to do so.  If this is the choice you make, list the children by name  in your will as not receiving.  Then the will won't be contested on grounds that you overlooked your own family. 
  • Be specific in designating items of special  value.  Sometimes the bitterest legal fights are over items of seemingly insignificant value, that hold great sentimental worth to family members.    Make it clear who gets what.  Put it in writing, and tell family members verbally. 
  • Do you own a business? Make it clear what should happen to it after you are gone.
  • Don't forget to file the will in an easy to find spot.  Remember, you won't be there to tell  family members where to look.  At the Law Office of Gary L. Stapp we recommend that all wills are filed with the State of Alaska Court system.  There they will be kept safe, yet easily available. 
  • Don't worry about estate taxes.  That really is for the wealthy.  If you are in the category of wealth that makes this a concern, make an appointment to see an attorney and discuss your specific situation.

Gary L. Stapp Law Office


My extensive estate planning representation includes:  Powers of attorney,

Medical powers of attorney,

Durable powers of attorney, and

Living Wills

Probate Attorney

​A lot of people do not even know what the word PROBATE means.  Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone dies.  It can include the following:

  • proving the will is valid
  • documenting and inventory of deceased person's property
  • having the  property appraised
  • paying debts, taxes, etc
  • distributing the property as the will directs

Probate  usually  involves paperwork, and court appearances. The lawyers fees and court fees are paid from the estate property.  The executor named in the will takes this job, and hires the attorney. 

Probate can be a slow process, taking from a minimum of six  months to over a year, sometimes more. 

At the Law Office of Gary L. Stapp, I provide comprehensive probate and estate planning representation. I understand the emotional issues associated with preserving and distributing assets. With more than 30 years as a Fairbanks estate planning attorney, I have handled practically every issue imaginable. I can review your unique situation to determine the best course of action.

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