The Role of the Successor Trustee: What Am I Supposed to Do Now?

The Role of the Successor Trustee: What Am I Supposed to Do Now?

By

Ethan R. Okura

We have often seen this scenario:  A parent, sibling, or dear friend has finally gotten around to doing their initial estate planning. You are so happy for them. And then you find out you’ve been named as their “successor trustee.” What does that even mean? What are your responsibilities? How will you know what to do when the time comes? When exactly does that time come? What exactly is a trust in the read more

Aretha Franklin: Following in Prince’s Footsteps to Pay Millions in Death Taxes

Aretha Franklin: Following in Prince’s Footsteps to Pay Millions in Death Taxes

By

Ethan R. Okura

A little over two years ago I wrote about Prince, the music recording legend, and how he passed away without a will. I detailed some of the problems that his estate would face—and is still facing to this day—on account of not adequately preparing. As of April, 2018, Prince’s six heirs had not received one red cent, while the bank acting as executor of the estate and its team of lawyers read more

“UNDUE INFLUENCE” AND OTHER WILL PROBLEMS

“UNDUE INFLUENCE” AND OTHER WILL PROBLEMS

By:

Ethan R. Okura

In previous columns, I have addressed the subject of financial abuse of the elderly. This usually involves outright stealing or fraud. However, there is another form of financial abuse that is subtler, harder to identify and often doesn’t show up until after the beloved family member has passed on. This type of problem is called “undue influence.”

What is “Undue Influence?”

Black’s Law Dictionary defines “undue read more

An Ethical Will: The Importance of Passing Down Your Values, Not Just Your Assets

An Ethical Will: The Importance of Passing Down Your Values, Not Just Your Assets

By

Ethan R. Okura

Have you heard the proverb “Shirtsleeves to Shirtsleeves in Three Generations?” Or perhaps you’ve heard the saying as “Rags to Riches to Rags in Three Generations.” The ancient Chinese version of this Proverb is 富不过三代 (Fu bu guo san dai), which roughly translates to “Wealth does not sustain beyond three generations.” Various cultures throughout history have seen read more

How To Apply For Long-Term Care Medicaid

HOW TO APPLY FOR LONG-TERM CARE MEDICAID

By:

Ethan R. Okura

In last month’s column, I focused on the history of Medicaid and discussed some of the difficulties that arise when dealing with Medicaid’s many laws, rules and policies. I also told you about some of the problems that people have encountered when applying for Medicaid on their own or without proper guidance.

In this column, I’ll go over the steps you will have to take when applying for Long-Term Care Medicaid on your own.

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Applying For Long Term Care Medicaid: Can You Do It On Your Own?

Applying For Long Term Care
Medicaid: Can You Do It On Your Own?

By

Ethan R. Okura

Medicaid was created in 1965 as Title XIX of the Social Security Act, alongside Medicare, which was Title XVIII of the Act, under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that pays for medical costs for those with limited resources. It also provides some health care benefits that are not covered by Medicare, such as long term care services in nursing homes.

Medicaid laws are very complicated read more

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: NEW DEATH WITH DIGNITY LAW PASSED

Legislative Update: New Death With Dignity Law Passed

By

Ethan R. Okura

Recently, the Hawaii State Legislature passed a bill that gives terminally ill patients an option to take prescription medication that will cause them to pass away peacefully in their sleep. This was known as House Bill 2739, the Our Choice, Our Care Act, which was signed into law by Governor Ige on April 5th, 2018.

This is still a controversial topic in many states as, historically, suicide was illegal under English Common read more

WHAT OUT OF STATE CHILDREN NEED TO KNOW TO HELP THEIR AGING PARENTS IN HAWAII

WHAT OUT OF STATE CHILDREN NEED TO KNOW TO HELP THEIR AGING PARENTS IN HAWAII

By

Ethan R. Okura

We often have clients who raised their families here in Hawaii, and then sent their children off to the mainland or elsewhere in the world to pursue their educations, careers, military service, or raising families of their own.  Although the children try to get back to visit Hawai`i nei once every year or two, life gets busy, and that doesn’t always happen. Even for those who do manage to come read more

THE TAX CUTS AND JOBS ACT

THE TAX CUTS AND JOBS ACT

By

Ethan R. Okura

In November 2017, I wrote an article about the proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). There were quite a few changes laid out in the proposed new law and there has been a lot of confusion as the bill went through several revisions before finally being passed into law. Many of the initially proposed changes were not implemented as originally expected. Last Month I wrote about how the new law temporarily doubles the estate tax exemption letting each read more

Estate Planning Update 2018

ESTATE PLANNING UPDATE FOR 2018

By:

Ethan R. Okura

Happy New Year! The following is the 2018 update of important numbers used in estate planning and Medicaid planning in Hawai‘i.

How much money and property can a person have at the time of death without paying estate taxes?

At the end of 2017, Congress passed a new tax bill, which the president signed into law. We will discuss some of the income tax changes in detail in next month’s column. One of the main impacts of this new law, however, read more