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2016 ESTATE PLANNING UPDATE

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...

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DON’T “SPEND DOWN” FOR MEDICAID!

DON’T “SPEND DOWN” FOR MEDICAID!

When people come to us for advice on how to qualify for Medicaid to pay for their nursing home cost, we hear this phrase “Spend Down” all the time.  Many people who have researched Medicaid benefits for long term care have heard that they should “Spend Down” their...

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WHY YOU NEED AN ESTATE PLAN (OR ONGOING UPDATES IF YOU ALREADY HAVE ONE)

WHY YOU NEED AN ESTATE PLAN (OR ONGOING UPDATES IF YOU ALREADY HAVE ONE)

I can already hear you thinking, “Of course I’m going to hear a lecture on why I need an estate plan, coming from an estate planning lawyer!”  Well, I decided to check with Google to see what it thought about the topic.  I ran the search “Why do I need an estate...

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WHAT IS A GENERATION SKIPPING TRUST?

WHAT IS A GENERATION SKIPPING TRUST?

A SHORT EXPLANATION OF THE TRANSFER TAX SYSTEM Have you heard of a Generation Skipping Trust before?  Have you been told that it’s a trust that will cut out your children from your inheritance and leave everything to your grandchildren?  That’s what the name sounds...

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WHICH BUSINESS ENTITY IS RIGHT FOR ME?

WHICH BUSINESS ENTITY IS RIGHT FOR ME?

WHICH BUSINESS ENTITY IS RIGHT FOR ME? Last month I wrote about why every American should start a small business—even if it’s just setting up a lemonade stand or buying a condo to rent to tenants. I explained how there are significant tax benefits to business owners...

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WHY YOU SHOULD START A BUSINESS (August 2015)

WHY YOU SHOULD START A BUSINESS (August 2015)

WHY YOU SHOULD START A BUSINESS When you are starting a new business there are so many things to think about and so much varied advice that comes from different sources. Some people think the first thing you have to do is register a business entity like a corporation...

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IDENTITY THEFT: HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF (July 2015)

IDENTITY THEFT: HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF (July 2015)

IDENTITY THEFT: HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America in the past two decades. In fact, last year it was the number one complaint category according to the FTC, with 12.7 million victims of identity fraud in 2014.  The...

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DOES A LIFE ESTATE STILL WORK FOR MEDICAID? (June 2015)

DOES A LIFE ESTATE STILL WORK FOR MEDICAID? Back in March, April, and May of 2010, my father wrote a three-part series for the Hawaii Herald called “Protect Your Home From Medicaid Liens.”  It explained that the best way to protect your home is to keep a life estate...

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POWER OF ATTORNEY AGENT, TRUSTEE, AND EXECUTOR THE DIFFERENCES, DUTIES, AND RESPONSIBILITIES (May 2015)

             I often encounter clients (or their families) who have some confusion about their rights and responsibilities as a legal representative of a family member or friend.  Usually, the person is named as an agent under a financial power of attorney or a...

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(ALMOST) EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHARITABLE TAX DEDUCTIONS

Last year at this time I wrote an article about tax deadlines and the penalties for not filing or not paying on time.  This year I want to talk in detail about one of our most innovative and useful strategies that can help clients to save on their taxes. This strategy...

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DANGERS OF JOINT TENANCY

Many Husbands and Wives own title to their home as “Tenants by the Entirety” or as “Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship.”  Often they’ve been told that it’s a cheap and easy way to avoid probate and are shocked to discover that it doesn’t.  The catch here is...

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GIFTING YOUR ASSETS

            Most of my clients have heard that you can give away $10,000 per year to any other person without consequences.  That’s not exactly correct.  Some have heard that you should consider giving away your assets to your children or other loved ones 5 years...

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2015 ESTATE PLANNING UPDATE

Here is a 2015 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...

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WHY YOU SHOULD INVEST IN REAL ESTATE

If you’ve been reading my articles, you may have noticed that I have written a few times on how you should own your real estate, what tenancy you should hold the property under, whether to use an LLC, the advantages of an irrevocable trust, and recently even...

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SELF-DIRECTED IRAs:  INVEST YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS IN  REAL ESTATE, PRIVATE LOANS, AND OTHER NON-TRADITIONAL ASSETS  PART II

SELF-DIRECTED IRAs: INVEST YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS IN REAL ESTATE, PRIVATE LOANS, AND OTHER NON-TRADITIONAL ASSETS PART II

In my last article I introduced the concept of Self-Directed IRAs.  The biggest advantage of setting up a self-directed IRA is that it will allow you to invest in non-traditional investments.  Some traditional stock brokerage houses will offer a type of a...

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SELF-DIRECTED IRAs: INVEST YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS IN REAL ESTATE, PRIVATE LOANS, AND OTHER NON-TRADITIONAL ASSETS PART I

Recently I have been hearing more and more people talk about Self-Directed IRAs. This idea has been spreading among entrepreneurs and investors all over the country in recent years.  More accountants and lawyers are starting to become aware of this phenomenon.  But...

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ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND EXPLOITATION OF THE ELDERLY

A hot topic in today’s world is Long Term Care, otherwise known as:  How to pay for the very expensive cost of Nursing Home Care.  Seniors are living longer; life expectancies are growing; and Health Care costs are increasing.  What does this mean for us? I started...

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How To Own Real Estate?

How To Own Real Estate?

One question that comes up often in estate planning is:  How should I own my Real Property (or Real Estate)?  Last July I wrote an article on this very topic.  The focus of that article was simply how to avoid probate with a slight mention of asset protection. ...

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Summer Tax Savings

Having just enjoyed the 4th of July weekend, one thing is certain: Summer is here! I don’t know where all the time goes, but 2014 is just flying by for me and I imagine many of you are experiencing the same thing.  So, in honor of summer, I thought I’d share some tax...

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Changes to the Hawaii Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Law

Changes to the Hawaii Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Law

The Hawaii State Legislature has been quite active in the field of estate planning recently.  Last month I wrote an article about the new Power of Attorney law.  Shortly after that law was passed, Governor Abercrombie signed Senate Bill 2887, S.D. 1, on April 23rd,...

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Ethan Okura Named Top 40 Under 40 by Pacific Business News

Ethan Okura Named Top 40 Under 40 by Pacific Business News

Ethan Okura, president of Okura & Associates, was recently listed by Pacific Business News as one of Hawaii's top 40 professionals under the age of 40.    

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The New Power of Attorney

The New Power of Attorney

As of April 17th 2014, Governor Abercrombie signed a bill into law establishing the new Uniform Power of Attorney Act.  It may be a little confusing to people because there already was a Hawaii law allowing powers of attorney, and the old law was called the Uniform...

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Tax Filings, Payments & Other Considerations (April 2014)

Tax Filings, Payments & Other Considerations (April 2014)

“’Tis impossible to be sure of anything but Death and Taxes.” - Christopher Bullock (Cobbler of Preston) Last month I addressed the serious topic of Death and the disposition of your remains.  On an only slightly brighter note, this month’s article is focused on the...

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Who Decides What Happens To My Remains Anyway? (March 2014)

Who Decides What Happens To My Remains Anyway? (March 2014)

“Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must die, Passing through nature to eternity.” -William Shakespeare (Hamlet) Death.  This is a difficult topic to think about.  Most of us spend most of our lives enjoying work, hobbies, friends and family.  We engage in...

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2014 Estate Planning Update (February 2014)

2014 Estate Planning Update (February 2014)

Here is a 2014 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? A little over one year ago, Congress passed a law  making the exemption from estate...

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Giving Away Your Home? –Beware Part II:  (January 2014)

Giving Away Your Home? –Beware Part II: (January 2014)

Last month I wrote about the pitfalls of giving your home away without protecting yourself. We came to the conclusion that if you think you have 5 years of good health when you can still live at home before you might need nursing home care, it can be a good idea to...

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Giving Away Your Home? –Beware Part I (December 2013)

Giving Away Your Home? –Beware Part I (December 2013)

We all know that the possibility of incurring disastrous Nursing Home costs is the biggest threat to most people’s estates today.  Now that we have an exemption of $5.25 million from estate taxes, only the wealthiest 0.14% of Americans will pay this tax. In other...

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Different Types of Agency: Attorney-in-Fact VS. Trustee (October 2013)

DIFFERENT TYPES OF AGENCY: ATTORNEY-IN-FACT VS. TRUSTEE By Ethan R. Okura   Clients often come to me confused about the different ways their loved ones can act for them if they become incapacitated (or how they can act on behalf of their family members).  Today...

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Tax Identification Numbers (September 2013)

TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS By Ethan R. Okura Back in June, I wrote an article on how Obamacare affects the income taxes that trusts pay.  It’s a very complicated subject (taxes always seem to be, don’t they?) and my quick summary of how it works may have left you with...

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Agreement of Sale (August 2013)

AGREEMENT OF SALE By  Ethan R. Okura   We all know that we had a recent real estate boom and bust cycle.  From the early 2000s until around 2007 or 2008 the real estate market was going gangbusters. Prices were rising, and a lot of transactions were taking...

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