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How To Title Real Estate: LLC, Revocable Trust, Personal Name? (July 2013)

HOW TO TITLE REAL ESTATE: LLC, Revocable Trust, Personal Name? By Ethan R. Okura For many people—especially in Hawaii—real estate is the most valuable investment they own and the largest part of their estate.  There is so much advice and mis-information floating...

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How Does Income Tax Work With My Trust? (June 2013)

HOW DOES INCOME TAX WORK WITH MY TRUST? By  Ethan R. Okura Last month after writing my article on Medicaid planning techniques, we received a message from a concerned client who is worried about higher income tax rates, the new 3.8% Medicare (sometimes called...

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Creative Medicaid Spend Down Techniques (May 2013)

Creative Medicaid Spend Down Techniques (May 2013)

As you are probably well aware, my father, Sanford K. Okura, and I have both written extensively on qualifying for Medicaid to pay for long term care costs while protecting your assets from nursing home costs.  Our law practice focuses on this problem as a key...

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Asset Protection – Part 2 (April 2013)

ASSET PROTECTION - Part 2 By Ethan R. Okura   Last month, we started talking about asset protection. We discussed what it is, why it’s necessary to protect ourselves in our country, and how having multiple layers of defense is the best approach.  I explained...

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Asset Protection – Part 1 (March 2013)

ASSET PROTECTION - Part 1 By Ethan R. Okura             Today I want to talk about Asset Protection.  What is Asset Protection?  Asset Protection is creating and implementing a plan to protect your hard-earned wealth from creditors—people to whom you owe money.  If...

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2013 Estate Planning Update (February 2013)

2013 ESTATE PLANNING UPDATE By Ethan R. Okura             Here is a 2013 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? As I mentioned in last...

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New Law: Saved from the Fiscal Cliff? (January 2013)

NEW LAW: SAVED FROM THE FISCAL CLIFF? By Ethan R. Okura As you may know, President Obama cut short his vacation in Hawaii to return to Washington D.C. and deal with the problem of the fiscal cliff. For those of you who weren’t aware, the fiscal cliff refers to a sharp...

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Tenants by the Entirety Protection Available in Trust (Dec 2012)

NEW LAW: TENANTS BY THE ENTIRETY PROTECTION AVAILABLE IN TRUST By Ethan R. Okura Hawaii has a new law which allows married couples or reciprocal beneficiaries who hold real property as tenants by the entirety to transfer their real estate to revocable trusts without...

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QUESTION: Will a Revocable Living Trust protect my assets from lawsuits? (Sep 2012)

ANSWER:      Ethan R. Okura, Attorney Specializing in Estate Planning (Trusts, Wills, Medicaid Planning & Probate).  No, a revocable living trust will not protect your assets from lawsuits.  You can cancel your revocable trust and get assets out of the trust at...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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Probate & Taxes vs. Nursing Home Costs

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...

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New Law: Transfer on Death Deed (October 2011)

NEW LAW:  TRANSFER ON DEATH DEED Hawaii has a new law which allows real estate to go to a beneficiary when the owner dies, without having to go to court for probate. This new procedure requires a new kind of deed, called a “Transfer on Death Deed.” Governor...

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The Hawaii Asset Protection Trust (September 2011)

HAWAII ASSET PROTECTION TRUST By Sanford K. Okura          On July 1, 2011, the Hawai‘i Permitted Transfers in Trusts Act was amended. This is an important change in the law because you can now transfer assets to a trust and receive money from the trust and yet have...

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Advance Health-Care Directives (Part 2) (August 2011)

ADVANCE HEALTH-CARE DIRECTIVES (PART 2) In last month’s column I explained that Advance Health-Care Directives have two parts.  One part is a “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions.”  It lets you name the person who will make medical decisions for you if...

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The Revocable Living Trust Trap (June 2011)

THE REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST TRAP Here is a Medicaid rule that often surprises those in nursing homes: if your home property is in a Revocable Living Trust, you cannot qualify for Medicaid for nursing home costs until you take your home out of the trust.  However, if...

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Asset Protection For Your Family (May 2011)

ASSET PROTECTION FOR YOUR FAMILY   Your will or trust probably says that you give your assets to your children when you die.  (Whenever I mention "children," I also mean nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, or anyone else who will be inheriting your...

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Estate Planning Update (April 2011)

2011 ESTATE PLANNING UPDATE By Sanford K. Okura   Here is a 2011 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...

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Hawaii State Death Tax Calculation Chart (April 2011)

Hawaii State Death Tax Calculation Chart   Step 1: Determine Taxable Estate (from federal form 706, Part 2, Line 3) (However, use $3.5M as exemption)* Step 2: Determine Adjusted Taxable Estate (Subtract $60,000 from Taxable Estate in Step 1) Step 3: Find Adjusted...

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Civil Unions and Estate Planning (March 2011)

On February 23, 2011, Governor Abercrombie signed into law Senate Bill 232, which makes civil unions legal in Hawaii, starting January 1, 2012.  Although the law says that a civil union is not a marriage, it gives partners in a civil union the same legal rights and...

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Take Advantage of the New Gift Tax Law (February 2011)

The new tax law gives us a wonderful opportunity to protect assets from nursing home costs and also from taxes.  It makes temporary changes to the federal tax laws.  It allows you to give away during your lifetime up to $5 million of assets without any gift tax.  From...

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The New Estate Tax Law (January 2011)

Happy New Year, everyone!  We have some exciting new tax laws.  On December 17, 2010, President Obama signed into law the 2010 Tax Relief Act.  I will explain the most important changes in estate and gift taxes. Temporary Law.  Important parts of the new law are only...

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Community Property (December 2010)

COMMUNITY PROPERTY If you own property in any of the following states, it is important that you understand the basics about community property: Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.  Also Puerto Rico and...

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Beware of Trust Salesmen (November 2010)

BEWARE OF TRUST SALESMEN We were recently warned about a trust salesman committing fraud by saying that if you sign up with him, you would get a discount in legal fees from Okura & Associates.  We don’t even know this person, and have reported him to the police....

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