Estate Planning in Hawaii

Many people have heard the term Last Will and Testament but few people have associated this term with estate planning. The term "estate planning" is associated with wealthy individuals with a great deal of money or a lot of property. In reality, anyone who has started the process of creating a will is involved in estate planning.

The First Part of Estate Planning: Determining Your Assets

Having detailed information regarding your assets is absolutely necessary to create a will. Leaving out important property or accounts could lead to confusion and problems for your family in the future. A proper will should include all assets in order to ensure that they are all distributed properly and legally.

When starting the estate planning process in Hawaii make a list of accounts, investments, insurance plans, jewelry, heirlooms, clothing, electronics, homes, vehicles, boats, and other real estate. Having this information written down will make it easier to determine what needs to be distributed. It is important to remember that when planning your estate in Hawaii it is not necessary to give out all of your sensitive information. Some people hesitate when creating wills because they do not want to list their account numbers. Thankfully it is not necessary to list this detailed information. In most cases only percentages or amounts need to be divulged immediately.

Deciding Who Gets Which Asset

Once assets have been determined it is extremely important that specific beneficiaries are named. In the state of Hawaii married individuals who have not created a will automatically leave the majority of their estates to their spouses. Not only do surviving spouses get between $100,000 and $200,000 of the assets off of the top, they also get the largest percentage of the remaining estate. The only way to prevent this is to specify which children, parents, siblings, or friends should get a part of your estate.

Who Can You Trust: Choosing Trustees and Executors?

A large part of estate planning in Hawaii is determining who can be trusted with providing for your families future. When minor children are involved trustees are needed to manage finances until children come of age. Even if minor children are not heirs a trust worthy executor is needed. They are responsible to seeing that all assets left in a will are distributed fairly and in a timely manner. An executor is also responsible for seeing that all of your final wishes are followed.

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