Entries by Sanford Okura

HAWAII ESTATE AND GENERATION SKIPPING TRANSFER TAXES (July 2012)

HAWAII ESTATE AND GENERATION SKIPPING TRANSFER TAXES

On July 5, 2012, Governor Abercrombie finally signed into law the Estate and Generation-Skipping Tax Reform Act, which is Act 220. Parts of this law were badly needed to clean up the poorly written Hawaii Estate Tax law which became effective in 2010.



The law applies to deaths and taxable transfers occurring after January 25, 2012. It provides for both an estate tax and a generation skipping read more

The Durable Power of Attorney – Part 2 (June 2012)

THE DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY – PART 2



Not all Powers of Attorney are of equal quality.  You need a carefully written Power of Attorney which contains special wording for estate planning situations.  A Power of Attorney does not give the attorney-in-fact the power to make gifts unless there is special wording which permits the making of gifts.  For example, suppose that your husband becomes incapacitated and has to go read more

The Durable Power of Attorney – Part 1 (May 2012)


Every adult should have a Durable Power of Attorney.  A “Power of Attorney” is a legal document in which one person gives another person the power to act for him, including the power to sign papers for him.  The person who is giving the power is called the “principal.”  The person who is getting the power is called the “Attorney-in-Fact” or “agent.”  “Attorney-in-Fact” read more

Understanding Revocable Living Trusts (April 2012)

UNDERSTANDING REVOCABLE LIVING TRUSTS

Trusts began in England in the Middle Ages. The Statute of Uses is a law enacted in 1536 under King Henry VIII. The Statute of Uses is the basis of trust law in England.  From England, the concept of trusts came to America with the colonists.  Thus, even though most of us have been hearing about trusts for only the last 10 or 20 years, trust law has been established for centuries.



A trust is created by read more

Making It Easier For Your Loved Ones (March 2012)

MAKING IT EASIER FOR YOUR LOVED ONES

From time to time, our law firm has a client who passes away with a situation similar to the following actual experience.  The wife died. She handled all of the family finances.  She was the family record keeper.  When she died, her poor husband was at a loss.  He did not know where all their money was invested.  He became very frustrated.



In many families, either the husband or wife is the financial read more

Who Inherits When Someone Dies? (February 2012)

WHO INHERITS WHEN SOMEONE DIES?

When someone dies without a will, we say that the person died “intestate.”  The law of intestacy explains who will inherit the property of a person who dies without a will.  Each state has its own law of intestacy.  I will explain the law in Hawaii.  It is quite complicated.



Neither a will nor the intestacy law affects property that is held jointly or in tenancy by the entirety, that has a beneficiary read more

2012 Estate Planning Update (January 2012)

Here is a 2012 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?



Under a temporary federal law, $5,000,000 is tax free this year. From January 1, 2013, only $1,000,000 will be tax free.  There is a bill in Congress, introduced on November 17, 2011, called the “Sensible Estate Tax Act of 2011,” which proposes read more

Reverse Mortgage (December 2011)

REVERSE MORTGAGE


People often ask me for advice about reverse mortgages.  They hear that with a reverse mortgage the bank pays you instead of your paying the bank, and that sounds good to them.  Here is the advice I give them:  if you want your children or other loved ones to inherit your home, do not get a reverse mortgage.  If you don’t mind having your home go to the bank rather than to your children when you die, then it might be read more

Probate & Taxes vs. Nursing Home Costs (November 2011)

PROBATE & TAXES vs. NURSING HOME COSTS

Many senior citizens are worried about probate and death taxes.  For most people, the fear of probate and estate taxes is misplaced.  The greatest threat to our hard earned money is not probate or taxes, but nursing home costs.


This year and next year, a person can die with $5,000,000 of assets without any estate tax.  Under current law, beginning 2013, $1,000,000 will be tax free at death.  Estate read more