Smart Women Make Wills The Spirit of Giving Community Conversations

Changunak Antisarlook Andrewuk (Sinrock Mary) challenged Alaskan laws regarding a woman’s right to own property and claim assets when it was still a territory in 1900. Mary’s life nearly came to ruin after her right to ownership of approximately 500 reindeer was refused after the death of her husband. She fought against the laws forbidding her from owning property and through her success in doing so, became one of the wealthiest people in the state. Mary passed down a precious inheritance to her family, the people she cared about, and all Alaskan women. Across the United States, women have long fought for the right to claim or pass down assets. The need to depend on social change to enjoy fundamental rights may account for the differences in how women shape their wills.

Women tend to leave less to a spouse and more to descendants and public charities. Only nineteen percent of women leave their entire estate to their spouse. Women are also more likely to have a will, but fifty-three percent of women in the US still do not, the primary barrier being the cost of legal advice. If you have children, property, or assets, you need a basic legal will in place. In Alaska Sinrock Mary fought for your right to control your financial future, and pass what you have worked for to your family and the causes that matter to you. What will your legacy be? ACF would like to help you answer this question by providing access to the legal advice needed to make sound decisions when creating your will.

The Alaska Community Foundation and YWCA present Smart Women Make Wills, a brown-bag lunch led by probate attorney, Chelsea Ray Riekkola, of Foley, Foley & Pearson. Learn the basics of wills, probate, and estate planning.

About Our Presenter
Chelsea Ray Riekkola was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. She graduated from Dimond High School in 2006 and received an athletic scholarship to Missouri State University, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

Chelsea received her J.D. from the University of Oregon, focusing her studies on estate planning and probate law. While in law school, Chelsea also wrote and published an article for the American Bar Association Journal of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law on handling digital assets after death. In 2013, Chelsea returned to Alaska as a clerk for Judge Patrick McKay of the Anchorage Superior Court. She also became involved in several community organizations including the Anchorage Bar Association, where she previously served as President of the Young Lawyers Section. She currently serves as the Treasurer of the Anchorage Association of Women Lawyers, and as an Executive Committee Member of the Estate Planning Section of the Alaska Bar Association. Chelsea is also a member of the Anchorage Estate Planning Council, WealthCounsel, and YWCA of Alaska.