Unsure of the difference between wills and estate plans. In Kamuela, the simplest way to understand it is that a will is only one part of an estate plan. A will is an important tool used by estate planning attorneys, but there are other options that are also available.
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Category: Kamuela Estate Planning Lawyers
There is no general answer to the question, How long a personal injury lawsuit take in Hawai’i? This is because these injury claims can vary dramatically in length. There are many factors that determine how long a case might take, making it impossible to predict the length. What we do know is that we will support and work hard for you every step of the way.
The personal injury lawyers of Olson and Sons have a long track record of success handling personal injury lawsuits. While long, drawn out cases can take months or even years, our team frequently resolves cases favorably in less time.
Factors That Determine How Long an Injury Lawsuit Takes in HI
It is helpful to understand the factors that could determine how long your personal injury lawsuit might take. These factors include:
- How long it takes to serve the defendant
- How long your recovery takes
- How aggressively your attorneys push the case forward
- Delay tactics from the defendant
- How complex the issues are
- Whether the defendant has insurance coverage
While each of these factors can impact how long your case takes, your attorneys can work to avoid unnecessary delay throughout the process.
The Injury Lawsuit Process in Kamuela and Kona, HI
It is impossible to have an accurate picture of how long your personal injury lawsuit might take if you do not understand the litigation process to begin with. While a number of factors could impact the length of your personal injury claim, all of these cases follow the same general process. This process has some common points where delays are possible.
There are important steps that your attorney must take before you can more forward with your personal injury lawsuit. Without doing so, you could be at risk of seeing your case dismissed. Before you pursue litigation, your attorney will carefully investigate the facts surrounding your injuries. After that, they must identify the responsible party and develop a theory of negligence.
Once these steps are complete, it is not unusual for a plaintiff to pursue a negotiated settlement. In fact, many personal injury cases are settled before a lawsuit is ever file. When settlement does not work out, the next step is litigation.
Filing the Lawsuit
Initiating litigation requires the filing of a complaint. This legal document lays out the plaintiff’s case, identifies the defendants to the court, and requests specific relief. The relief in a personal injury lawsuit is monetary compensation.
Once a plaintiff files the lawsuit, they must formally notify each of the defendants of the proceeding. This is known as service of process. Until the defendants in a personal injury case are formally served the case cannot move forward.
Once the defendant is notified of the lawsuit, they have an opportunity to formally respond. This is done through a legal document known as an answer. If the defendant fails to file an answer, the court could issue a judgment against them by default. The answer will address each of the allegations made by the plaintiff and deny them one by one.
This phase usually takes weeks or months to complete, as the defendant has 20 days to file their answer. This time period, combined with the amount of time needed to perfect service in the lawsuit, can take some time.
Once the parties are served and the answer is filed, the case will move into a period known as discovery. Discovery is the opportunity for both sides to review the evidence the other side will use at trial.
There are different forms of discovery. Many personal injury lawyers make use of a process known as a deposition to determine what a witness is likely to say at trial. A deposition is similar to a court hearing in some ways. A court reporter is present, and both attorneys can ask questions. However, this process happens away from the judge and outside of the courtroom. There are also written discovery requests commonly used as well.
Discovery can be a lengthy process. The more complex the injury case is, the longer discovery could take. Both sides could spend months taking depositions and responding to written document requests before the process is complete.
Once discovery is completed, the lawsuit will head towards trial. Remember: it is possible for the parties to reach a negotiated settlement at any point during the case. While the party completes discovery and prepares for trial, the sides could reach an agreement on a monetary settlement at any time.
At the trial, both sides will have their opportunity to make their case. Each attorney can call witnesses or offer physical evidence. Once both cases are presented, a judge or jury will determine what compensation—if any—is appropriate.
Talk to Olson & Sons About the Progress of Your Personal Injury Case in Kamuela, Kona, and all of Hawai’i
If you are ready to pursue your claim for monetary compensation, Olson & Sons are ready to serve as your advocate. To learn more about how we can fight on your behalf, reach out today to schedule your free consultation.
Most Hawaii County families need testamentary trusts. These estate planning vehicles preserve privacy and avoid some taxes. When wills go to probate, as they all must, the contents of the estate become public record. In many cases, that disclosure is embarrassing at best and dangerous at worst. Additionally, the corpus (property in the trust) does not legally belong to the settlor (person that created the trust).
Testamentary trusts are usually revocable or irrevocable. As the name implies, settlers can add to or delete from a revocable trust’s corpus during their lifetimes. These vehicles are quite flexible but do not offer quite as much protection as irrevocable trusts.
However, some people need advanced trusts for advanced estate planning purposes. A Kamuela estate planning lawyer can offer several different options. Some of the most popular advanced trusts we handle are outlined below.
Asset Protection Trusts
Generally, these vehicles are offshore irrevocable trusts. They combine the flexibility of a revocable trust with the protection of an irrevocable trust.
Most Kamuela estate planning lawyers set up these trusts in foreign countries. A handful of places do not have CRS (Common Reporting Standards) agreements with the United States Treasury. So, their bank secrecy laws are still intact. It’s even harder for creditors to find assets in places such as Egypt, Bangladesh, and other non-CRS countries.
Occasionally, asset protection trusts are temporarily irrevocable, and then they become revocable after a few years.
Kamuela estate planning lawyers do not “set up” constructive trusts. Instead, they argue in court that a trust was created, and therefore, the property legally belongs to the trust and not to the settlor. Judges often imply these trusts if the parties agreed to some, but not all, key provisions. Or, some people draw up trust paperwork but do not place property into the trust until after the deadline passes.
Many people like to leave money or property to churches or other charitable organizations. But if such property passes through probate, the organization might be responsible for estate or gift taxes. Charitable trusts lower or eliminate these transfer fees.
The CRT (charitable remainder trust) is a popular option, especially if the corpus contains real or personal property. Settlors use the property as long as they are alive, even though the charity technically has the right of possession. When settlors die, both title and possession pass to the named charity.
Some settlors hesitate to pass large sums of money or property to some beneficiaries. Perhaps the beneficiaries are immature or there are family or other issues, like a substance abuse problem. Spendthrift trusts limit access to the corpus until certain events transpire. As a bonus, spendthrift trusts also shield assets from the beneficiary’s creditors.
Tax Bypass Trusts
If one spouse leaves property to the other spouse, that transfer is usually tax-free. But when the surviving spouse transfers that property to an heir, the taxes could be as much as 55 percent. The tax exemption is generally high, but it’s subject to change at any time. Tax bypass trusts avoid this problem.
Kamuela Estate Planning Lawyers and Special Needs Trusts
These estate planning vehicles transfer property to people who receive government benefits, like Medicaid or Social Security Disability, without affecting their eligibility for such benefits. These trusts are government-approved so long as a Kamuela estate planning lawyer drafts the documents carefully. The beneficiary must have no control over distributions and must have no power to revoke the trust.
In this way, beneficiaries can have some luxury items and still have their basic needs met. To make sure that happens, most Kamuela estate planning attorneys insert provisions that terminate special needs trust if the distributions would wreck benefit eligibility.
Special needs trusts generally limit trust disbursements to happiness and comfort items that the government benefits do not provide. This definition is quite expansive. It includes things like:
· Medical and dental expenses,
· Electronic and computer equipment,
· Transportation (including vehicle purchase),
· Insurance (including payment of premiums of insurance on the life of the beneficiary),
· Essential dietary needs,
· Spending money,
· Athletic contests,
· Money for gifts, and
· Payments for companions.
Disabled people who expect large inheritances often establish special needs trusts themselves, naming another person or entity as trustee.
Joint ownership is the most convenient way to pass financial accounts from one person to the other, but it’s not always the safest way. Totten trusts are revocable trusts that are incomplete until the settlor dies or unequivocally gives the property to the other person. These trusts are not available for real property.
These trusts are relatively easy to set up. Often, Kamuela estate planning lawyers just point settlers in the right direction. When owners set up accounts, they must simply add identifying languages, like ITF (in trust for), POD (payable on death), or ATF (as trustee for).
Why Hire Our Kamuela Estate Planning Lawyers
Trusts often allow people to pass property without financial penalties or public scrutiny. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Kamuela estate planning lawyer, contact Olson & Sons, L.C. at our Kamuela office at (808) 885-8533. We routinely handle matters in Hawaii County and nearby jurisdictions.