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“Do Not Resuscitate” Doesn’t Always Mean “Do Not Resuscitate”

“Do Not Resuscitate” Doesn’t Always Mean “Do Not Resuscitate”

Updated for 2023 With an Advance Health Care Directive, you can make “end of life” decisions. You can choose to die naturally, without life support. However, if your heart stops beating, emergency medical personnel will resuscitate you, even if you have an Advance...

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Asset Protection in Uncertain Times Part Two: FDIC Insurance

Asset Protection in Uncertain Times Part Two: FDIC Insurance

The economic news continues to get worse and worse. First, here is a brief summary of some of the advice I offered in last month’s Estate Planning Insights column: Make sure that your savings accounts, checking accounts and certificates of deposit are in FDIC-insured banks or NCUA-insured credit unions. Keep the amount of money at each bank or credit union within the insured limits of $250,000. Money market funds are not insured by the FDIC and could lose their value.

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Asset Protection in Uncertain Times Part One: FDIC Insurance

Asset Protection in Uncertain Times Part One: FDIC Insurance

When you sign an estate planning document such as a revocable living trust or a will, you appoint someone to handle your assets for you. The person you choose to handle things for you is called a “fiduciary.” A “fiduciary” is in a position of great trust and responsibility. A fiduciary named in your document usually has the power to buy, sell and manage assets for you.

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What to Do When Someone Dies With a Trust

What to Do When Someone Dies With a Trust

When you sign an estate planning document such as a revocable living trust or a will, you appoint someone to handle your assets for you. The person you choose to handle things for you is called a “fiduciary.” A “fiduciary” is in a position of great trust and responsibility. A fiduciary named in your document usually has the power to buy, sell and manage assets for you.

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Hawai`i’s Intestacy Law

Hawai`i’s Intestacy Law

When you sign an estate planning document such as a revocable living trust or a will, you appoint someone to handle your assets for you. The person you choose to handle things for you is called a “fiduciary.” A “fiduciary” is in a position of great trust and responsibility. A fiduciary named in your document usually has the power to buy, sell and manage assets for you.

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The Special Needs Trust: A Way to Care for a Disabled Family Member

The Special Needs Trust: A Way to Care for a Disabled Family Member

Suppose you have a child with a disability. Maybe the child was born with a mental disability, or maybe even a physical disability. The child may have been normal at birth and developed the mental or physical disability later in life. You love this child and want to provide the best possible care for him or her.

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FIDUCIARIES IN YOUR ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS

FIDUCIARIES IN YOUR ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS

When you sign an estate planning document such as a revocable living trust or a will, you appoint someone to handle your assets for you. The person you choose to handle things for you is called a “fiduciary.” A “fiduciary” is in a position of great trust and responsibility. A fiduciary named in your document usually has the power to buy, sell and manage assets for you.

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DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY

DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY

In my last column, I wrote about the Advance Health-Care Directives which contains a “Power of Attorney for Health Care.” I explained that it is a different document than a Durable Power of Attorney, which is used for financial matters. Every adult should have a...

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ADVANCE HEALTH-CARE DIRECTIVES

ADVANCE HEALTH-CARE DIRECTIVES

Everyone should have Advance Health-Care Directives. “Advance Health-Care Directives” are instructions which you are giving now (while you can still make decisions) about how you want doctors and hospitals to take care of you when you can no longer make your own...

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HOW TO AVOID PROBATE

HOW TO AVOID PROBATE

In 2020, there was an increase in the United States death rate of 15.9%. COVID-19 related deaths amounted to over 375,000, which accounts for most of that increase (11.3%). With all these extra deaths, many senior citizens and even younger clients are concerned about...

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MORE NITTY GRITTY DETAILS OF THE GENERATION SKIPPING aka “LEGACY” TRUST

MORE NITTY GRITTY DETAILS OF THE GENERATION SKIPPING aka “LEGACY” TRUST

This month’s column will explain in more detail the potential advantages and disadvantages of generation skipping trusts. A Generation Skipping Trust is a trust that does not end when you pass away. It continues on for one or more generations after your death. It does...

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GENERATION SKIPPING TRUST also known as a LEGACY or DYNASTY TRUST

GENERATION SKIPPING TRUST also known as a LEGACY or DYNASTY TRUST

Today, I want to talk about a term that is often misunderstood in estate planning: The Generation Skipping Trust.  A generation skipping trust does not mean that the inheritance skips your children and only goes down to the grandchildren—that is the big...

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WHAT IS AN A-B TRUST?

WHAT IS AN A-B TRUST?

For most couples who do not have trusts, if one dies, everything goes to the spouse. If a married couple will have more than $5.49 million of assets (including life insurance death benefits), then having everything go to the spouse could cause an estate tax problem....

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THE REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST TRAP

THE REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST TRAP

Although a Revocable Living Trust is good for avoiding probate (and for married couples, an A-B Trust can reduce or eliminate estate taxes), it cannot protect your home from nursing home costs. Some years back, the State of Hawaii passed a Medicaid rule: If your home...

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UNDERSTANDING REVOCABLE LIVING TRUSTS

UNDERSTANDING REVOCABLE LIVING TRUSTS

Last month we shared information on funding your Revocable Living Trust.  This month we decided to go back to the very beginning and explain what a Revocable Trust is and how they started in the first place. What is a Revocable Living Trust?  Trusts began in England...

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FUNDING YOUR REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST

FUNDING YOUR REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST

If you have an existing estate plan, you are probably already familiar with the benefits of creating a Revocable Living Trust.  One of the biggest advantages of a Revocable Living Trust is the ability to avoid probate.  Probate is a court process when a person dies. ...

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What is a Life Well-Lived?

What is a Life Well-Lived?

During the past two and a half months of lockdown, I've had a fair amount of time while walking the neighborhood or taking breaks from working at home to ponder life, and I’ve come to some interesting realizations. Here in Hawaii we've been fortunate because COVID-19...

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THE SECURE ACT: Big Changes to IRA and 401k Rules

THE SECURE ACT: Big Changes to IRA and 401k Rules

On December 20, 2019, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act was signed into law by President Trump. The SECURE Act makes some really big changes to the way that retirement accounts must be distributed—especially after the original...

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2020 ESTATE PLANNING UPDATE

2020 ESTATE PLANNING UPDATE

Happy New Year!  Here is the 2020 update on important numbers used in Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning in Hawaii. How much money and property can one have at death without paying estate taxes? At the end of 2017, Congress passed a new tax bill, which the...

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INTERNATIONAL ESTATE PLANNING: NON-CITIZEN SPOUSE

INTERNATIONAL ESTATE PLANNING: NON-CITIZEN SPOUSE

Last month I wrote my column on the basics of International Estate Planning. I explained the definitions of US Citizen, Non-resident Alien, and Resident Alien. The definition of a Resident Alien is different for Income Tax purposes than it is for Gift and Estate Tax...

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INTERNATIONAL ESTATE PLANNING

INTERNATIONAL ESTATE PLANNING

The world today is increasingly interconnected. Global travel is commonplace these days, as is moving to another country for work or other opportunities. International marriages are also more commonplace. So, what do these facts have to do with estate planning? All of...

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FRAUDULENT STUDENT LOANS AND IDENTITY THEFT

FRAUDULENT STUDENT LOANS AND IDENTITY THEFT

FRAUDULENT STUDENT LOANS AND IDENTITY THEFT By: Ethan R. Okura Sometimes you can do everything right, but have everything go horribly wrong. Sometimes you do nothing at all, and still have everything go very wrong. In the United States, you’re supposed to be innocent...

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AUTOMOBILES IN ESTATE PLANNING

AUTOMOBILES IN ESTATE PLANNING

Many of my past columns have focused on how to structure your estate plan to protect your home. I’ve discussed protecting your primary residence and other real property from probate through the use of revocable and irrevocable trusts, through joint ownership or...

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TENANTS BY THE ENTIRETY FOR PERSONAL PROPERTY

TENANTS BY THE ENTIRETY FOR PERSONAL PROPERTY

By: Ethan R. Okura Back in December of 2009, my father, Sanford K. Okura, wrote an excellent article titled “Tenants by the Entirety.” It explained the pros and cons of holding property as “tenants by the entirety” as opposed to holding them in revocable trust(s). At...

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INCOME TAXES and IRAs

By: Ethan R. Okura It’s that time of year again. No, not Valentine’s Day…and I’m not even talking about President’s Day. I’m talking about Taxes! Your personal income tax return isn’t due until April 15th, and if you’re like many people, you might file for an...

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Estate Planning Update 2019

By: Ethan R. Okura Hawai‘i Herald Columnist Happy New Year! The following is a 2019 update on important numbers used in estate planning and Medicaid planning in Hawai‘i. How much money and property can a person have at death without paying estate taxes? At the end of...

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WRAPPING UP YOUR ESTATE PLAN

By: Ethan R. Okura Happy Holidays! This is the time of the year when we make an extra effort to be thankful for all that we have. We focus on the spirit of giving and we wrap up presents for our family and loved ones. This thought made me chuckle a little at a recent...

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RETIREMENT SAVINGS AND NEW CONTRIBUTION LIMITS – An Overview to Help You Prepare for 2019

By: Ethan R. Okura There’s no question about it: Saving for retirement is not easy. There are quite a few types of retirement accounts. Each has its own rules and tax benefits, although, for the most part, they tend to be similar. The amounts you can contribute,...

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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...

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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...

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