Planning for Life & Legacy

Develop a plan to pass on your legacy with 907 Legal. We offer simple estate planning services designed to protect you and your loved ones as you face the key decisions that come with getting older and planning for your estate

 

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Plan for your future. Protect your legacy

You have a legacy worth preserving. Trust 907 Legal to help you navigate the estate planning process so you can leave behind something you’re proud of.

Last Will & Testament

Passing without a Last Will and Testament, or other estate plan, leaves the distribution of your estate to the State of Alaska’s one-size-fits-all intestate statute. Fortunately, preparing a Last Will and Testament is an inexpensive and simple way to take control – contact 907 Legal to find out how our flat rate Last Will and Testament puts you in control and protects your assets.

Simple Wills

Having a Simple Will in place puts you in charge. Without a Simple Will, or other estate plan, the distribution of your estate will be left to the State of Alaska’s one-size-fits-all intestate statute. Fortunately, preparing a Simple Will is an inexpensive and simple way to take control – contact 907 Legal to find out how our flat rate Last Will and Testament puts you at the helm and protects your assets.

Complex Wills

A Complex Will is often appropriate for business owners, those wishing to avoid estate taxes on valuable assets, people providing for special needs children, and others with more complicated estate planning objectives. If you need a Complex Will, or are unsure as to your needs, contact 907 Legal to find out how we can help put you in control and protect your assets.

Pour-Over Wills

A Pour-Over Will works in conjunction with a Trust so that the estate flows into the established Trust at the time of passing. If you need a Pour-Over Will, or are unsure as to your needs, contact 907 Legal to find out how we can help put you in control and protect your assets.

Family Trusts

A Family Trust is a type of Living Trust that can help you avoid probate and legal challenges, limit your tax exposure, and help you dictate the distribution of your assets – all during your lifetime and upon incapacity or passing. If you need a Family Trust, or are unsure as to your needs, contact 907 Legal to find out how we can help put you in control and protect your assets.

Living Trusts

Living Trusts come in both Irrevocable and Revocable varieties depending on your needs, circumstances, and objectives. Generally, Irrevocable Trusts provide asset protection and tax benefits, at the expense of control and title while Revocable Trusts keep you in control but can leave you exposed to taxes and creditors. Contact 907 Legal to find out how we can put you in control and protect your assets.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney gives another person the ability to make and carry out decisions on your behalf in a manner consistent with your authorization and for a time period determined by you. Your Power of Attorney should be carefully tailored to meet your needs without giving up too much control. At 907 Legal we can help draft a Power of Attorney that grants the authority you want and retains the control you need.

Advanced Medical Directives

An Advanced Medical Directive is a form of Power of Attorney that tells family members and healthcare providers your wishes so that they may be carried out on your behalf and in accordance with your directions. At 907 Legal we can help draft an Advanced Medical Directive that ensures your decisions are honored.

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FAQs & Testimonials

Wills and Estate Tax

What is Alaska's estate tax?

Alaska does not (for now) collect a state estate tax.

Do I need a simple or complex will?

Many people find that a Simple Will can meet their needs, however, a Complex Will is often appropriate for business owners, those wishing to avoid estate taxes on valuable assets, people providing for special needs children, and others with more complicated estate planning objectives. If you are unsure as to your needs, contact 907 Legal to find out how we can help put you in control and protect your assets.

How much is a simple will?

$500 puts you in control.

How does probate work?

Probate gives someone the authority to resolve another’s estate. Probate can be formal or informal and may involve litigation or take place without any direct judicial involvement.

What type of will is right for me?

Many people find that a Simple Will can meet their needs, however, a Complex Will is often appropriate for business owners, those wishing to avoid estate taxes on valuable assets, people providing for special needs children, and others with more complicated estate planning objectives. If you are unsure as to your needs, contact 907 Legal to find out how we can help put you in control and protect your assets.

Who should my executor be?

This is ultimately a personal decision, however, in choosing your executor you should be mindful that it can be a lot of work, and for family members, friends, and business partners, it will already be a sad and difficult time. Consider naming an executor that has no interest in the outcome of the estate and no existing relationship with you or those who stand to benefit under the will. Choosing an outsider will prevent conflicts of interest and limit the potential for infighting at a time when family and friends need each other most.

Is estate planning the same as getting a will?

It certainly can be. For many people a Simple Will can take care of all their estate planning needs, for others, Complex Wills, Trusts, and other instruments may make more sense. If you are unsure as to your needs, contact 907 Legal to find out how we can help put you in control and protect your assets.

Does having a previous marriage affect the type of will that I need?

If you haven’t updated your Will since your prior marriage then a new Will is probably a good idea. In most cases, simply having a prior marriage alone will not change what you need out of your Will. If you think the circumstances of your prior marriage, or the laws of another state may have an effect on your Will needs, contact 907 Legal to find out how we can help put you in control and protect your assets.

Do I need to update my will if my circumstances change?

If the change in circumstances was contemplated by the Will, then you may not need to make an update. If the changed circumstances are not covered by the Will, however, revisions or codicils can be executed to bring the Will up-to-date. If you need a codicil or are unsure of your needs, contact 907 Legal to find out how we can help put you in control and protect your assets.

Do I need an attorney to make my will official?

No, anyone who complies with Alaska’s Statute of Wills can draft an official Will. An attorney can provide value by helping you chose the right type of Will for your circumstances, by drafting a Will that is compliant with the Statute of Wills, by limiting ambiguities in the Will and the Will’s likelihood of being attacked.

Trusts & Estate Planning

What is a revocable trust?

A Revocable Trust is an estate planning tool that allows the grantor to earn income from the trust and to alter the provisions of the trust during his or her lifetime with the remainder of the trust passing to the beneficiaries of the trust upon death. Revocable Trusts provide great flexibility but little in the way of tax benefits. If you think you might benefit from a Revocable Trust, or are unsure as to your needs, contact 907 Legal to find out how we can help put you in control and protect your assets.

Can my spouse be the administrator on my trust?

Yes. Trustees should have sound judgement, be available and preferably local, be able to be impartial among beneficiaries, possess good attention to detail and good interpersonal skills. The difference between a trustee that is “allowed” to administer your estate and trustee that “should” administer your estate comes down to their ability to meet the above qualifications among others. If you have questions about selecting a trust administrator, contact 907 Legal for sound advice.

How large should my estate be to consider a trust?

The 2017 estate tax exemption is $5.49 million dollars, and while for many a Simple Will can address estate planning needs, the size of your estate and tax considerations are just the beginning. Trusts can do more than provide tax benefits, for instance irrevocable trusts can be used to come in under the Medicaid countable asset limit and to avoid probate. If you think you might benefit from a Trust, or are unsure as to your needs, contact 907 Legal to find out how we can help put you in control and protect your assets.

What is the difference between a family trust and a living trust?

A Family Trust is a type of Living Trust that can help you avoid probate and legal challenges, limit your tax exposure, and help you dictate the distribution of your assets – all during your lifetime and upon incapacity or passing. If you need a Family Trust, or are unsure as to your needs, contact 907 Legal to find out how we can help put you in control and protect your assets.

Do I need to have a POA?

If you want someone to make and carry out decisions for you, then having a narrowly drawn Power of Attorney makes sense. For many, an Advanced Medical Directive or Advanced Healthcare Directive is enough. Your Power of Attorney should be carefully tailored to meet your needs without giving up too much control. At 907 Legal we can help draft a Power of Attorney that grants the powers you want to authorize and retains the control you need.

What is an advanced medical directive and what does it have to do with planning my estate?

An Advanced Medical Directive tells your family and your healthcare providers your wishes in the event that you are not able to. While Advanced Healthcare Directives are not directly related to estate planning, both deal with decision making directed by you for a time when you will not be able to voice those decisions personally – planning for these together makes sense. At 907 Legal we can help draft an Advanced Medical Directive that ensures your decisions are honored.

Will I have to pay estate tax and how can I prepare for that ahead of time?

The 2017 Federal estate and gift exemption is $5.49 million dollars per individual. The State of Alaska currently levies no estate tax. If your estate is in not approaching $5.49 million, or $10.98 million for married couples, then you do not need to worry about estate taxes under the current code. For those with larger estates, Trusts, gift tax exemptions, and other exclusions can help you avoid the estate tax down the road.

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Our attorneys have a broad range of skills and expertise. With a combined 50 years of legal experience, you can be sure you’re getting the best legal advice in Alaska.

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Peter R. Ehrhardt

Attorney at Law

Peter graduated from the University of Minnesota law school in 1980. He moved to Alaska the same year and began working for a small personal injury firm in Bethel. He founded 907 Legal to meet growing demand on the Kenai Peninsula.

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Katie A. Elsner

Attorney at Law

After graduating cum laude from Northwestern Law, Katie continued developing her practice at the Miami Dade Public Defender’s Office and then with Alaska Legal Services and as a contract attorney on the Peninsula.

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Josh B. Cooley

Attorney at Law

Josh shaped his practice in Miami, where in his first year he received the Statewide Public Defender College Best Advocate Award. In less than five years, he moved from the Juvenile and Misdemeanor Crimes Divisions to being an “A” Felony Attorney.


Phone: (907) 283-2876
Fax: (907) 283-2896
Email: peter@907legal.com

Peter R. Ehrhardt

Peter Ehrhardt, Attorney at Law, graduated from the University of Minnesota law school in 1980. He moved to Alaska that same year and began working for a small personal injury firm in Bethel, Alaska. In 1983, Mr. Ehrhardt moved to Sitka, Alaska, and worked for a small general practice firm there. In 1984, Mr. Ehrhardt moved to Kenai, Alaska, where he resides today.

In 2002, Peter started a Kenai law firm to meet growing demand on the Kenai Peninsula. Since then, the office has expanded to include three local attorneys committed to providing honest, accommodating, and timely service throughout the Kenai Peninsula. Peter continues to fight for his clients’ rights and support the staff to this day.


Phone: (907) 283-2876
Fax: (907) 283-2896
Email: katie@907legal.com

Katie A. Elsner

Katie completed her undergraduate education in 2004 at New York University where she graduated cum laude. Katie then went on to the prestigious Northwestern University School of Law. It was here that Katie learned, while working on death penalty cases, that the client is the most important focus in each and every case.

After graduating cum laude from Northwestern Law, she continued developing her practice at the Miami Dade Public Defender’s Office. During her five years in Miami, she represented thousands of adult and juvenile clients charged with misdemeanor offenses, like DUI and assault, to life felonies, including homicide and sexual assault. She was a founding member of the Task Force on Forensic Litigation and received national attention when she was featured on an episode of the A&E TV show ‘After the First 48’ where she successfully convinced a judge to dismiss her client’s murder case.

Having grown up in the mountains of Colorado, Katie ultimately decided to leave Miami for the scenery and seasons for which Alaska is so well known. Since arriving in the Kenai area, she has worked for Alaska Legal Services, where she expanded her practice to include civil litigation in areas such as divorce and custody, child in need of aid, probate, protective proceedings and estates and later provided the same services as a contract attorney at Walton, Theiler & Winegarden. From attacking eye-witness identifications and the forensic sciences to resolving a family dispute, Katie is adept at litigating the particular issues involved in your criminal or civil case. With experience trying dozens of jury and non-jury trials, negotiating hundreds of case resolutions, and taking thousands of depositions, Katie is a vigorous advocate who will fight for you.


Phone: (907) 283-2876
Fax: (907) 283-2896
Email: josh@907legal.com

Josh B. Cooley

Josh Cooley, Attorney at Law, graduated from the The George Washington University Law Center in Washington, D.C. While in Law School, Mr. Cooley fell in love with criminal defense and Alaska while interning at the Alaska Public Defender Office here in Kenai.

Immediately after graduating, however, Mr. Cooley set out to shape his criminal defense and litigation practice in one of the biggest and busiest markets in the country: Miami. In his first year, he received the Statewide Public Defender College Best Advocate Award. In less than five years, Mr. Cooley moved from the Juvenile and Misdemeanor Crimes Divisions to being an “A” Felony Attorney handling only murder, attempted murder, armed robbery with a firearm, and “capital” sexual battery cases. Those first four years of Mr. Cooley’s practice helped shape him into the seasoned, aggressive, and strategic litigator that he is today.

Mr. Cooley has conducted over 1,000 depositions and defended more than 50 cases at trial. Mr. Cooley has defended clients charged with crimes including: murder, attempted murder, DUI, armed robbery, theft, burglary, home invasion robbery, mortgage fraud, possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, fleeing and eluding, drug possession, distribution, and trafficking, assault, sexual assault, and all manner of domestic violence allegations. While in Miami, Mr. Cooley was a founding member of the “Task Force on Forensic Litigation,” and conducted presentations and training to attorneys on how to defend against weapons and drug charges.

Peter’s Cases of Note

EXXON VS. BAKER

Peter was a member of the plaintiffs’ trial team which obtained a $5 billion verdict in the Exxon Valdez litigation. For his work on that case, Mr. Ehrhardt, as a member of the trial team, received the 1995 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, a national organization of trial lawyers.

GLACIER BAY

Peter was co-council in Re: Glacier Bay, a class action arising out of a 1987 oil spill in upper Cook Inlet which resulted in a $51 million settlement.

SITKA PULP MILL

Peter and a very small team of lawyers aggressively researched and challenged the odds to win the fight against the pollution causing factory in the early 90’s.

Katie’s Cases of Note

STATE V. SOSA-PALMA

Mr. Sosa-Palma was accused of murdering his brother. If convicted, he would have spent the rest of his life in prison. By challenging and attacking the forensic, medical, and crime scene evidence, Katie was able to successfully convince the judge that, despite the State’s theory of the case, Mr. Sosa-Palma was acting in self-defense. When the Judge granted Mr. Sosa-Palma’s request for immunity under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, Mr. Sosa-Palma’s murder charge was dismissed and he was released from jail.

STATE V. RANDALL

Successfully challenged a CSSD administrative child support order leading to the reversal of tens of thousands of accrued child support arrearages, invalidating an administrative driver’s license suspension for non-payment of support and securing a dismissal of criminal charges for driving while his license was suspended.

MERRILL V. MERRILL

Prevailed on a theory of equitable rescission at trial resulting in the client keeping sole possession of all of the property acquired during the marriage without having to divide anything with his former spouse.

STATE V. WASHINGTON, ET AL

Challenged the constitutionality of Florida’s controlled substance laws and obtained a court order on behalf of over 30 defendants finding the statutory scheme unconstitutional and dismissing their cases. Although a stay was entered and the trial court reversed on appeal, the cases were able to resolve with negotiated resolutions that avoided felony convictions and lengthy prisons sentences for the defendants.

Josh’s Cases of Note

STATE V. T.D. (2016)

T.D., a juvenile, was charged with multiple sexual assault charges carrying mandatory minimum penalties upwards of 20 years per charge. Mr. Cooley was able, through the use of an expert and pretrial management, to provide substantial mitigating evidence to the District Attorney. In the end, T.D.’s case was handled in juvenile court and he was placed on probation, avoiding a lengthy adult prison sentence and a lifetime of sex offender registration.

STATE V. HYATT (2014)

Hyatt was charged with assaulting his wife with a kitchen knife. Mr. Cooley vigorously prepared the case for trial and presented his defense through cross examination of the State witnesses. At the conclusion of the State’s evidence Mr. Cooley was able to convince the Judge that no reasonable juror could find Mr. Hyatt guilty and the Judge dismissed the case.

The State, upset at having the assault thrown out, then sought to charge Mr. Hyatt with a DUI from an accident nearly a year prior. Mr. Cooley prepared legal briefing and filed it with the Court, arguing that too much time had passed to pursue the DUI. The State was eventually forced to dismiss the DUI as well.

STATE V. HENSEL (2014)

Hensel was charged with Felony Driving Under the Influence after being contacted in the driver seat of a truck stuck in the snow near Kasilof: he faced a minimum sentence of 3 years. At a pretrial hearing, Mr. Cooley was able to elicit testimony from the officer that conflicted with his prior reports and helped to show that Mr. Hensel had not in fact been driving or in physical control of the truck. Mr. Cooley was able to use these newly uncovered facts to convince the District Attorney to drop the charges.

STATE V. WHITAKER (2012)

Whitaker was charged with two counts of Murder in the shooting death of two individuals outside of a Chili’s restaurant in Miami. Through the use of expert witnesses and tireless preparation, Mr. Cooley was able to present evidence at a pretrial hearing that Whitaker had acted in self-defense. The Trial Court refused to grant Whitaker immunity from prosecution, but the Court of Appeals was persuaded by the evidence Cooley put forth in the hearing and granted Whitaker immunity from prosecution.