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Go back to: Title 13 Decedents’ Estates, Guardianships, Transfers, Trusts, and Health Care Decisions
Go back to: Chapter 12. Intestacy, Wills, and Donative Transfers.

Sec. 13.12.804. Effect of divorce, annulment, and other changes of circumstances on probate and nonprobate transfers.
 (a) Except as provided by the express terms of a governing instrument, a court order, or a contract relating to the division of the marital estate made between the divorced individuals before or after the marriage, divorce, or annulment, the divorce or annulment of a marriage
     (1) revokes a revocable
          (A) disposition or appointment of property made by a divorced individual to the divorced individual’s former spouse in a governing instrument and a disposition or appointment created by law or in a governing instrument to a relative of the divorced individual’s former spouse;

          (B) provision in a governing instrument conferring a general or nongeneral power of appointment on the divorced individual’s former spouse or on a relative of the divorced individual’s former spouse; and

          (C) nomination in a governing instrument, nominating a divorced individual’s former spouse or a relative of the divorced individual’s former spouse to serve in a fiduciary or representative capacity, including a personal representative, executor, trustee, conservator, agent, or guardian; and

     (2) severs the interests of the former spouses in property held by them at the time of the divorce or annulment as joint tenants with the right of survivorship, transforming the interests of the former spouses into tenancies in common.

 (b) A severance under (a)(2) of this section does not affect a third-party interest in property acquired for value and in good faith reliance on an apparent title by survivorship in the survivor of the former spouses unless a writing declaring the severance has been noted, registered, filed, or recorded in records appropriate to the kind and location of the property that are relied upon, in the ordinary course of transactions involving that kind of property, as evidence of ownership.

 (c) Provisions of a governing instrument are given effect as if the former spouse and relatives of the former spouse disclaimed all provisions revoked by this section or, in the case of a revoked nomination in a fiduciary or representative capacity, as if the former spouse and relatives of the former spouse died immediately before the divorce or annulment.

 (d) Provisions revoked solely by this section are revived by the divorced individual’s remarriage to the former spouse or by a nullification of the divorce or annulment.

 (e) A change of circumstances other than as described in this section and in AS 13.12.803 does not effect a revocation.

 (f) A payor or other third party is not liable for having made a payment or transferred an item of property or other benefit to a beneficiary designated in a governing instrument affected by a divorce, annulment, or remarriage, or for having taken other action in good faith reliance on the validity of the governing instrument, before the payor or other third party received written notice of the divorce, annulment, or remarriage. A payor or other third party is liable for a payment made or other action taken after the payor or other third party receives written notice of a claimed forfeiture or revocation under this section.

 (g) Written notice of the divorce, annulment, or remarriage under (f) of this section shall be mailed to the payor’s or other third-party’s main office or home by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or served upon the payor or other third party in the same manner as a summons in a civil action. Upon receipt of written notice of the divorce, annulment, or remarriage, a payor or other third party may pay any amount owed or transfer or deposit any item of property held by it to or with the court having jurisdiction of the probate proceedings relating to the decedent’s estate or, if proceedings have not been commenced, to or with the court located in the judicial district of the decedent’s residence. The court shall hold the funds or item of property and, upon its determination under this section, shall order disbursement or transfer in accordance with the determination. Payments, transfers, or deposits made to or with the court discharge the payor or other third party from all claims for the value of amounts paid to or items of property transferred to or deposited with the court.

 (h) A person who purchases property from a former spouse, relative of a former spouse, or another person for value and without notice, or who receives from a former spouse, relative of a former spouse, or another person a payment or other item of property in partial or full satisfaction of a legally enforceable obligation, is not obligated under this section to return the payment, an item of property, or benefit, or liable under this section for the amount of the payment or the value of the item of property or benefit. However, a former spouse, relative of a former spouse, or other person who, not for value, receives a payment, an item of property, or other benefit to which that person is not entitled under this section is obligated to return the payment, an item of property, or benefit, or is personally liable for the amount of the payment or the value of the item of property or benefit, to the person who is entitled to it under this section.

 (i) If this section or a part of this section is preempted by federal law with respect to a payment, an item of property, or other benefit covered by this section, a former spouse, relative of the former spouse, or another person who, not for value, received a payment, an item of property, or other benefit to which that person is not entitled under this section is obligated to return that payment, item of property, or benefit, or is personally liable for the amount of the payment or the value of the item of property or benefit, to the person who would have been entitled to it if this section or part of this section were not preempted.

 (j) In this section,
     (1) “disposition or appointment of property” includes a transfer of an item of property or other benefit to a beneficiary designated in a governing instrument;

     (2) “divorce or annulment” means any divorce or annulment, or any dissolution or declaration of invalidity of a marriage, that would exclude the spouse as a surviving spouse within the meaning of AS 13.12.802; a decree of separation that does not terminate the status of husband and wife is not a divorce for purposes of this section;

     (3) “divorced individual” includes an individual whose marriage has been annulled;

     (4) “governing instrument” means a governing instrument executed by the divorced individual before the divorce or annulment of the divorced individual’s marriage to the divorced individual’s former spouse;

     (5) “relative of the divorced individual’s former spouse” means an individual who is related to the divorced individual’s former spouse by blood, adoption, or affinity and who, after the divorce or annulment, is not related to the divorced individual by blood, adoption, or affinity;

     (6) “revocable,” with respect to a disposition, appointment, provision, or nomination, means a disposition, appointment, provision, or nomination under which the divorced individual, at the time of the divorce or annulment, was alone empowered, by law or under the governing instrument, to cancel the designation in favor of the divorced individual’s former spouse or former spouse’s relative, whether or not the divorced individual was then empowered to designate the divorced individual in place of the divorced individual’s former spouse or in place of the divorced individual’s former spouse’s relative and whether or not the divorced individual then had the capacity to exercise the power.

Article 10. Miscellaneous Provisions.

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