808-593-8885
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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
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....

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
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. ...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

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...

read more

How To Apply For Long-Term Care Medicaid

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...

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...

read more