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Honolulu Legal Blog

How You Can Use a Variety of Tools to Make a Comprehensive Estate Plan

One of the beautiful things about estate planning is the range of options for achieving specific goals. Whether you have a modest estate or a multitude of complex assets, there are estate planning tools to help ensure that your needs are met in later years and that your assets are protected for future generations.

Is a Living Trust Right for Your Asset Protection?

If protecting assets for future generations is one of your primary goals in life, you may fear that some of your wealth will diminish or your estate will come under unnecessary scrutiny if it must go through the probate process. Because a last will and testament goes into the public record, your personal business could become known by any individual wishing to gain access to it. That is one reason you may want to consider alternative estate planning options.

You may already know that creating a trust and placing assets into that trust could help you avoid probate. Trusts also remain private, which means that public entities cannot easily gain access to trust-related information. In any case, it is important to create the right type of trust for your specific situation.

Consider Your Trust Options for Avoiding Probate and Taxes

If your goal is to ensure your own comfort later in life while preserving wealth for future generations, a trust may be an effective tool in your estate plan.

There are many different kinds of trusts to consider, so it is important to choose a trust that fits your specific situation.

What is a leasehold?

The concept of leasehold property has been a part of the Hawaiian real estate terrain for many decades. While many single-family properties on the islands have switched to fee simple ownership that is similar to a more conventional purchase of a home or property, the leasehold option remains a common one here, particularly on Oahu in Waikiki, Downtown, Makiki and the University areas.

The leasehold tends to jump out in the real estate sections because the prices are much lower than fee simple (the commonly assumed ownership of a property) and there are reasons for that.

Why create a health care directive?

Protecting your right to accept or refuse medical treatment isn't something you likely think about on a daily basis. You're young, and you just got married. You're thinking about your bright future, and none of that involves worrying about medical emergencies or being unable to make medical decisions on your own behalf.

But the reality is, unfortunate things do happen, no matter how young you are or what stage of life you are in. And if you were to become unresponsive or unable to make a medical decision, due to an accident, emergency or serious or sudden illness, your family or loved ones cannot read your mind.

Planning Your Estate? Now Is the Time to Draft Powers of Attorney.

When thinking about estate planning, most people think of a will. However, estate planning is not limited to just wills or trusts. While those documents are very important to have, you should also start thinking about assigning power of attorney and drafting this document.

What is power of attorney?

While it is never fun to think about growing old and being unable to make certain decisions for yourself, it is important that you are prepared when the time comes. Power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to act on your behalf if you become incapable of doing so yourself.

Why you need a real estate attorney

Whether you are buying or selling a home or commercial property, you are undertaking a significant financial investment. A typical home purchase may seem very standard and straightforward. A seller enters into a brokerage contract with a real estate agent and the agent handles finding the buyer, negotiations, a contract for sale and the purchase agreement. It seems pretty simple, however, any real estate transaction can have risks and complications, it is wise to have a knowledgeable attorney to look out for your rights and help you ensure that the contractual agreement you are entering is solid, in your best interests and that there won't be any surprises down the road.

Benefits to hiring an attorney

Any attorney will review all legal documents involved in a real estate transaction every step of the way, which can help you avoid common pitfalls and costly problems. Here are some benefits to hiring an attorney.

Homeowners and first-time homebuyers: Why you should create a trust

Buying a home is likely the largest purchase you will make in your lifetime. Protecting your hard-earned, most valuable asset and minimizing the risk of property being legally seized is something every homeowner should think about. Should you die, a trust will help pass on your estate to your chosen beneficiaries without losing anything in probate court.

But even while you are alive, a living trust can help protect your estate. This is especially important if you have a large estate or are considering putting your home under joint ownership with your spouse, who may have a job with a high risk of lawsuits. Planning and forethought will help keep your home and finances protected.

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