Entries by Ethan Okura

WHY YOU NEED A WILL RIGHT NOW: PROBLEMS WITH INTESTATE DISTRIBUTION

How many of you don’t have a Last Will and Testament drawn up? How about your adult children or grandchildren?  There are many reasons why people don’t have a Will:  Don’t want to think about dying; Fear of cost; Not sure whom to name as beneficiaries or personal representative. The most common reason I hear is, “I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.”



Although it is decidedly unpleasant to think about our own death, a Will read more

THE TOP 4 MEDICAID MYTHS

Have you heard information about Medicaid for nursing home costs from a friend, relative, or neighbor? If so, chances are you’ve also heard one of the Medicaid myths that aren’t true.  Here are 4 common misconceptions about qualifying for Medicaid to pay for your Long-term Nursing Home care costs.

 

Myth #1:  Medicare will pay for my long-term nursing home care



Many retirees believe that they are covered for long term care because they read more

LAND COURT VS. REGULAR SYSTEM


Today I’m going to talk about the two different systems for recording ownership of real property (land and buildings) in the State of Hawaii. The “Regular System” of recording land ownership comes from the traditional English Common Law and is a “race-notice” recording system which doesn’t determine ownership—it just identifies who recorded documents first. The Land Court System, established in 1903 read more

DIGITAL ASSETS:  PASSING ON YOUR ELECTRONIC PHOTOS, FILES, ACCOUNTS, AND DATA

When a loved one passes away, probably the furthest thoughts from your mind at that time are:  How do I access and preserve their digital assets of value? And, what are their passwords?



First, let’s define “digital assets.”  A strict definition from Wikipedia is “anything that exists in a binary format and comes with the right to use. … Digital assets are classified as images, multimedia and textual content read more

WILL YOUR WILL WORK? THE PROBLEMS WITH ONLINE WILLS AND TRUSTS


I have had several potential clients and even friends ask me my opinion about online, do-it-yourself, estate planning documents.  In recent years several websites have popped up offering a glamorous opportunity to prepare your will, trust, and/or other estate planning documents, often for a lower-cost than what a competent attorney would charge.  The online legal document service can have a strong appeal for the uninitiated and those who read more

THE ESTATE OF THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PRINCE


A few weeks ago, the news media were replete with articles about the highly successful, music genius, rock-legend Prince.  He has sadly joined the ranks of world-famous icons who have died leaving fans wanting more.  He has also apparently joined the group of such people who have died without a last will & testament.  There has been a lot of speculation about the cause of death, including suspected drug overdose, but I’ll read more

JOINT TENANTS


We often see clients who have been advised by someone else that holding bank accounts or real property as “Joint Tenants” (also called “Joint Tenancy”) is a cheap way to avoid probate costs.  It’s true that if one of the joint tenants passes away, the other joint tenant(s) will own the account or the property without having to go through probate court proceedings. However, joint tenancy can expose you to a lot of risks that you read more

REVOCABLE OR IRREVOCABLE: THAT IS THE QUESTION!

When a client comes in to our law firm for the first time, they usually ask us to explain the basic concepts of estate planning and to make recommendations on how they should proceed.  Our attorneys will share with the client how doing a plan with us can help to protect them and their family from losing their assets to:  Probate; Conservatorship; Estate Taxes; Lawsuits; Divorces; and Nursing Home Costs.



We often discuss the pros and cons read more

THE BIGGEST ESTATE PLANNING MISTAKE: DON’T FORGET TO FUND YOUR TRUST


One of the most common mistakes in Estate Planning is:  A person will go to a lawyer (or some non-lawyer salesperson will come to their door) and they are talked into “purchasing a Trust” to help protect the person’s assets and to avoid probate and conservatorship, which both require that the court gets involved in managing your finances when you pass away or become incapacitated.  So the client pays for a trust read more

2016 ESTATE PLANNING UPDATE

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! (That’s Happy New Year in Hawaiian for those of you reading on the mainland).  Here is a 2016 update on important numbers used in Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning in Hawaii.



How much money and property can a person have at death without paying estate taxes? At the end of 2012, Congress passed a law making the exemption from estate taxes $5,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) without a built in expiration read more