Almost 50 percent of Americans over the age of 55 don’t have a will. Even if you’re part of the 50 percent who do have a will, it might not be enough to avoid Hawaii probate court.
This overview illustrates how you can protect your loved ones’ inheritance and your legacy. By taking steps to avoid the court process, you can ease one of the difficulties your loved ones will face.
When the Hawaii Probate Court Process Kicks in
Probate court is a judicial process that tries to make sure your estate and assets end up in the right hands. Unfortunately, it’s often a cumbersome and slow process. It can tie up your legacy, even if you have a will.
For your loved ones, it represents an added stress at a difficult time. If you take steps to protect your legacy now, you can help your loved ones avoid Hawaii probate court.
Real property is one of the triggers for the probate court process. Even if you have a will, the courts will intervene to ensure the title is assigned to the right people.
This change came into effect in 2011. The state determined transfer upon death deeds would still need to go to court.
If you happen to pass away without a will or other documents about your estate, the courts will intervene. In some cases, the courts may decide you have no legitimate heirs and your estate will revert to the state.
Creating an Estate Plan to Protect Inheritance
From the short description above, it should be clear why you want to avoid Hawaii probate court.
The good news is that there are steps you can take right now to protect your estate. The first is having a will.
As discussed, a will won’t prevent your estate from going to court, especially if property is involved. That’s why you also need other documents in your estate plan.
You might also want to set up a trust, especially if you own a business or property. A trust can be used to manage your assets both during life and after you’re gone.
The trust can continue to provide management to your heirs and assigns.
Starting a Plan
The first step in creating an estate plan is to decide what you need and what you want. What assets do you have to divvy up? Who do you want to inherit?
Most people name family and friends as beneficiaries. Some may leave a legacy to a favorite charity or a school. If you own a business, you might want to leave assets to a business partner or a protégé.
Keeping an Estate Plan up to Date
If you’ve already made an estate plan, you’re ahead of the game. Once you’ve made the plan, though, it’s your responsibility to keep it up to date.
An out-of-date estate plan can cause problems. The people you name as beneficiaries may pass out of your life. You may wish to make provisions for new relatives, such as children or grandchildren as they’re born.
You may also dispose of assets or add new ones to your estate. You might decide to leave more to your favorite charity. Your estate plan needs to reflect the current state of your affairs.
Plan Your Legacy Now
Letting your estate be decided by Hawaii probate court could tarnish your legacy and take inheritance away from your loved ones. The right documents and planning can help you avoid this outcome.
Whether you need to create a plan or update one, get in touch with us. We can help you protect your legacy.