Hawaii Estate Lawyer | Estate Planning of Honolulu
Trusts, Wills & Probate from Experienced Attorney
Hawaii Revocable Living Trusts
A Revocable Living Trust is a document that controls the disposition of your assets when you pass away and avoids probate.
Benefits of Your Will
If you fail to draft a Will then the State of Hawaii will distribute your assets under the Intestate statute.
Many people here in Hawaii ask me why it is so important to draft an estate plan. There are many reasons, but here are the most important. First, a properly drafted estate plan can prevent your family from having to go through probate. Probate can be very expensive and very time consuming. The process is controlled by the state. There is no guarantee that your wishes will be followed. In the State of Hawaii, if you own a home or condominium, or if you own more than $100,000 in assets, your estate will have to go through probate. However, you can avoid probate if your property is placed into a revocable trust.
A second important reason to draft an estate plan is to save on your taxes. Drafting a proper trust can help married couples save on estate taxes by taking advantage of the estate tax exemption for each spouse. In addition, property left through an estate receives a basis adjustment that allows families to save on capital gains taxes.
Finally, a proper estate plan includes a power of attorney document and a health care directive. These are extremely important. A power of attorney allows an agent to pay expenses if you're incapacitated. A health care directive outlines your medical choices so your family members don’t have to make those choices for you. If you fail to draft these documents and you become incapacitated, your family will have to go through a guardianship and conservatorship proceeding that's time consuming and can cost thousands of dollars. Not to mention the costs of emotional stress on your loved ones.
As you can see, it's very important to draft an estate plan. However, more than 60% of adults do not have an estate plan. Their failure to plan will likely result in their family paying thousands of dollars in probate fees and taxes. You can prevent this by creating an estate plan now.
Why Estate Planning is Especially Important For Hawaii Residents
I often hear the same reasons for failing to draft an estate plan. Some people think they don’t need an estate plan. They think only rich people have “estates.” However, as mentioned above, if you live in Hawaii and you have a house, a condominium or cumulative assets over $100,000, you have an estate that will have to be probated - unless it’s in a Trust. Still, you may think that it's too expensive to draft an estate plan. Is it?
Probate is actually much more expensive than drafting a revocable living trust. And the time it takes to probate an estate is much greater, and involves more headaches, than settling a trust. Some assume their situation is too complicated for an estate plan. They believe it's impossible to draft a plan that will satisfy all their requirements. Not true. Whether it is dealing with a beneficiary who has a disability or a substance abuse problem, or how your primary home should be distributed, an experienced estate planning attorney can design a plan to meet any and all of your needs.
An Experienced Estate Lawyer Can Save You Money & Heartache
One of the biggest mistakes I see in my practice, besides the failure to draft an estate plan, is people trying to draft a plan without the help of an experienced estate planning attorney. I often come across clients who tried to draft their own trust through an on-line service and end up with one that's worthless because they didn’t know how to fund it. Or, they execute a deed by themselves that results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary taxes!
All of these problems can be eliminated by scheduling a free consultation with Estate Panning of Honolulu. During that free consultation, I'll ask several questions about your finances, property, and family. Then I'll answer any questions or concerns you might have. After all of the information is gathered, I'll propose a plan that meets all of your estate planning needs. I will also quote your fee at that time. No fee is due until the work is complete. I always work under a flat fee arrangement.
I avoid charging clients by the billable hour because I believe it improves communication between us if you know that your attorney is not charging you every time he picks up the phone. If the client agrees, I usually complete the work in two to three weeks. I find that my clients experience a great sense of peace and relief when their plan is complete. They feel a great comfort when they know they have a plan that will protect their family and save them from endless fees and headaches. Don't you want to feel that same relief?
Don't Wait to Protect Your Family
Contact us at Estate Planning of Honolulu today and see how an Estate Plan can save your family & loved ones money and stress. Experience the relief from all of your fears by drafting a plan that'll give not only you, but your whole family, peace of mind!
Would you like a free consultation with an estate attorney?
Attorney Michael J. Madison is available for complimentary consultations.