Hawaii Wills, Trusts, and Probate
Regardless of your familial or monetary situation, it is important to create an estate plan and continually revise your estate plan upon the occurrence of significant life events (i.e.-marriage, divorce, birth of children, incapacity, special needs, death, retirement, etc.). A well-drafted estate plan may include several documents, including but not limited to: durable power of attorney, will, trust, advanced care directive, and/or healthcare surrogate designation.
When creating and updating your estate plan, consider hiring a Hawaii estate planning lawyer, who can help you construct the most favorable estate plan possible for your personal situation.
A will must have specific legal wording in Hawaii in order to be legal. If the will does not have this wording, it is possible that your estate will not be dispensed exactly as you would like. A proper Hawaii will requires:
To ensure that you meet the Hawaii legal formalities and requirements for wills, you should get in touch with a Hawaii estates and trusts lawyer about your will.
Changing a Will in Hawaii
When you modify your will, you must be sure to follow all the Hawaii legal specifications and formalities for wills generally. To alter your will, you may write a completely new will and destroy the old will (by burning, obliterating, tearing, etc.). Alternatively, you may draft an amendment to the will on a separate piece of paper and attach it to the will. Consult a Hawaii will attorney about your options when changing your will, and about any modifications you make to your will.
An alternate means of distributing your assets after your death is through a trust. Creating a Hawaii trust will give you flexibility, privacy, and the possibility to save on taxes and avoid the probate process. Trusts come in several different forms (revocable, irrevocable, living), and may be established for numerous purposes (i.e.-educational trust, special needs trust, life insurance trust, charitable trust). Although trusts are beneficial vehicles, their establishment can be a convoluted and difficult process. Because of this, you should contact a Hawaii trusts attorney to help you construct the trust that is right for you.
Property mentioned in a decedent's will, may be distributed after going through the formal probate process. But, if some of the decedent's property is not mentioned in his or her will, or if the decedent does not leave a will, the property will pass by Hawaii laws of intestate succession. This means that decedent's assets will be dispensed according to a person's degree of blood relationship to the decedent.
In Hawaii, when intestate succession applies, or when the will is ambiguous about the decedent's recipients or the allocation of property, interested persons may petition the probate court. The probate court may then decide who should receive the decedent's property and what amount of property each person should receive.
A non-exhaustive list of relationships that may be relevant to the intestate distribution of property
After a will is finished, people may still try to dispute the terms of the will. Because of this possibility, you should discuss any anxiety you have about your will with a Hawaii probate lawyer.
Hawaii Statutes, Title 30A – Estates and Trusts