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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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Advance Health-Care Directives (Part 1) (July 2011)

ADVANCE HEALTH-CARE DIRECTIVES (PART 1) 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...

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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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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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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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Joint Tenants (October 2010)

To avoid probate, people sometimes put loved ones’ names on property or bank accounts as “joint tenants.”  When one joint tenant dies, his or her share automatically passes to the other joint tenants.  Joint tenancy does avoid probate.  However, there are several...

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Stepped Up Basis In 2010 (August 2010)

In the Estate Planning Insights column for October 2009, I explained the “stepped up basis.”  When a person dies owning property such as real estate or stocks, the fair market value of that property on the date of death will become the new tax basis of that property. ...

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Why You Should Convert to a Roth IRA (July 2010)

WHY YOU SHOULD CONVERT TO A ROTH IRA Forget all the articles you have read about whether you should convert to a Roth IRA.  Forget about “Roth IRA Conversion Calculators.”  If you have a substantial amount in a retirement plan that can be converted to a Roth IRA, you...

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The New Hawaii Estate Tax (June 2010)

There is now a new Hawaii estate tax.  The bill proposing the tax (House Bill 2866) was vetoed by Governor Lingle on April 25, 2010.  The Hawaii legislature overrode the veto on April 29, 2010, and the bill became Act 74 on April 30, 2010.  It imposes a tax on the...

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