Understandably, many Hawaii residents may not know a substantial amount about estate planning. As a result, they may think that creating a will is all they need to do in order to create a useful plan for their loved ones to follow in the future. However, that is far from the truth.
If you have already created will, you have certainly taken a useful estate-planning step. Still, that does not mean that you have a complete estate plan. In fact, you may be among the numerous individuals who believe the myth that a will covers all remaining assets.
Assets outside the will
Though you can use your will to name beneficiaries and to bequeath assets, not every asset needs addressing in your will. If you have retirement funds, insurance policies, savings accounts or other assets that fall into the category of payable-on-death, that categorization means that you can name direct beneficiaries to those assets. As a result, upon your death, those assets will transfer to those beneficiaries without having to go through probate.
Additionally, it is important to remember that other planning tools may be more useful when it comes to protecting assets. For instance, using a certain kind of trust can allow you to maintain control over your property while adding useful protections. After your passing, control of the trust would then transfer to the designated trustee.
Other uses of an estate plan
You could also benefit from knowing your estate plan may be missing useful documents if it only has a will. Your plan can also include information about how you would like your care handled in the event that you become incapacitated in some way. Some documents you could utilize include:
- A durable power of attorney in order to appoint someone to handle your financial decisions when you are unable to do so yourself
- A living will, which allows you to detail the type of medical care you want or do not want to receive in the event of incapacitation
Depending on your specific estate, you may even want to explore additional planning tools. Of course, if you do not know what options are available, you could miss out on useful documents. Fortunately, you can discuss your situation with an experienced attorney who could provide information on trusts, estate-planning benefits and how to create a comprehensive plan.