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Hawaii Estate Planning
Kona and Kamuela Estate Planning Attorneys
Kailua Kona and Kamuela Estate Planning Lawyers
Estate planning is extremely important, however, it is also a process that many people put off for a variety of reasons. You may think that you are too young for an estate plan or that you do not need one because you do not have substantial assets or property. A proper estate plan is critical for every adult, as it addresses much more than you may think.
At the law firm of Olson & Sons, our estate planning attorneys help clients on the west side of the Big Island. We can consult with you and advise you of the most beneficial estate planning tools for your specific situation. Please call our office for more information about the many ways we can assist you.
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Common Estate Planning Tools
When you think of planning for after your death, you may initially think of drafting a last will and testament. While having a current and valid will is essential, it is far from the only aspect of a comprehensive estate plan. The following are some of the estate planning tools we use for many of our clients.
Wills. A will allows you to designate how your property and assets are distributed after your death. If you have minor children, you can designate who will care for your children should something happen to both you and their other parent. When someone passes away, their will should be submitted to the probate court. A will should name an executor who oversees the probate process and distribution of property.
If you pass away without a will or other estate planning tools, the court will distribute your property in line with Hawaii’s intestate laws. Having a will allows you to control what happens to your hard-earned property and your children. We help guide your decisions and draft a valid will in line with Hawaii law.
Trusts. While a will allows you to dictate the distribution of your property, the probate process can be lengthy and costly. In order to avoid the need for probate, many people form a living trust. When you form a trust, you transfer your assets and property into the ownership of the trust, while you continue to manage that property as you wish. You draft a trust document that designates a successor trustee to be in charge should you become incapacitated or pass away. The document also dictates how the trustee should distribute the trust property. Different types of trusts have different functions that allow you to control distributions for young children, add conditions to distributions, plan for children with special needs, and more.
Many people choose to form a trust since trust property does not have to go through the probate process. We can also draft a pour over will that distributes any unaccounted-for property into the trust upon your death. We can also assist you in selecting a trustee who will be capable and willing to manage and distribute the trust in accordance with your wishes. Our attorneys will evaluate your circumstances to determine if a trust – and which type of trust – is right for you.
Power of Attorney. Not all estate planning tools plan for after your death, as some address what may happen if you become incapacitated due to illness or injury. In this situation, you will not be able to manage your financial, legal, or business affairs or even make day-to-day decisions. You can draft a document called a durable power of attorney that gives someone the authority to step in and manage your affairs until you are able to do so again. This person can access your accounts, pay your bills, and represent your interests in all legal matters.
If you do not have a power of attorney, someone can only manage your affairs if the court appoints them as your legal guardian. This requires an often arduous legal process that can be costly and even adversarial between family members. By drafting a power of attorney, you eliminate the need for any legal proceedings, as well as any interruption in your affairs. Know that a serious accident can happen at any time and at any age, so it is never too early to draft a power of attorney.
Health Care Directive. It is also important to draft an advanced health care directive, which is often called a healthcare power of attorney or a living will. Instead of giving someone authority to manage your financial affairs, this document gives a particular person the authority to make decisions regarding your medical care when you cannot do so yourself. This includes daily medical decisions, as well as major end-of-life decisions. Your advanced healthcare directive will set out your wishes, such as not being on life support or certain medications. Without this document, your care will largely be at the discretion of your doctors, who may not be aware of your beliefs and wishes.
Handling Probate and Estate Planning Disputes
With or without an estate plan, disputes can arise regarding the execution of your will or trust. Disputes can involve executors or trustees who are not performing their duties properly, beneficiaries who suspect a will is invalid, and similar issues. Disputes and other probate issues can be costly and cause significant delays. Our attorneys represent parties in probate disputes and aim to protect your rights and resolve any issues in the most efficient manner possible. Having the right representation can help prevent divides in your family and unnecessary expenses.
It is Never Too Soon to Call Our Kailua Kona and Kamuela Estate Planning Lawyers
The attorneys at Olson & Sons have extensive experience handling all matters related to estate planning. Remember – every adult can benefit from a comprehensive estate plan at any age. If you have a major life event, you should revisit your estate plan to make any necessary updates. Call our office in Kona at 808-331-3113 or in Kamuela at 808-885-8533 to schedule a consultation today. We will review your situation and help design an effective estate plan tailored to your needs.
*Nothing herein constitutes legal advice, you should seek an attorney before you take any action, nor does anything herein create an attorney client relationship.