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Hawaii Estate Planning
If you pass away unexpectedly, will your family members be in a financially secure position? Do you own a home or a small business? Are you getting remarried and want to protect the inheritance of your children from a prior marriage? Do you have strong feelings about the medical treatment you receive and want to explain those wishes in case you're ever incapacitated and unable to communicate? Would you like to minimize the federal and Hawaii estate tax that's owed after you die? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you probably need some estate planning guidance. Make an appointment today to talk to a local estate planning attorney.
What Is Estate Planning?
You are probably aware that estate planning (through a last will and testament) allows you to explain how you'd like your assets to be distributed after you pass away.
But did you know that estate planning deals with far more than just death? In reality, estate planning allows you to create a legal framework that can help you address and manage a variety of financial, medical, familial and legal issues while you're alive and after you've passed away. Let's take a closer look at how estate planning might be useful to you.
The last will and testament is the best known and one of the most commonly used estate planning documents. As you're probably aware, a last will allows you to leave instructions to your executor explaining how you'd like to distribute your money, real estate and personal property after your death. You can also use your last will to name a legal guardian for your minor children (under the age of 18, according to Hawaii law).
There are, however, other ways to distribute your assets to your heirs. Many people opt for a living trust in addition to or in place of a last will. A living trust allows your estate to avoid probate, affording your heirs more privacy. It can also be a faster way of distributing your assets after you pass away.
From a medical perspective, estate planning allows you to take more control over your health if you're incapacitated. A healthcare power of attorney lets you designate a person (known as a proxy or surrogate) to make medical decisions for you if you're unable to communicate. A living will enables you to explain what treatment and care you do and do not want to receive in end-of-life situations.
Adults of all ages can also benefit from a power of attorney (POA), which is a legal document used to authorize someone else (your attorney in fact) to take certain legal and financial actions on your behalf. Your attorney in fact could attend your real estate closing and sign your name to the closing documents if you're unable to attend in person. Or if you're seriously ill, your attorney in fact could access your bank accounts and pay your bills. A POA can be written as narrowly or as broadly as you desire. It can be valid on one day for one specific action, or indefinitely for anything that's legally permitted by federal and Hawaii law.
Find & Hire Local Hawaii Estate Planning Attorneys
Now that you better understand some of the ways that estate planning can help you manage your money, healthcare and legacy, it's time to hire an attorney to help you draft some of these critical legal documents. And whether you live in Honolulu, Hilo or elsewhere in Hawaii, Attorneys.com offers a free service that can connect you with estate planning lawyers in your area. To get started, complete the form on this page or call us at 877-913-7222.