In Honolulu, Hawaii, "estate planning" refers to the process by which a person makes arrangements related to their property after their death. It can (and should) also include personal issues that might come up immediately before and after a person's death.
The creation of a will (the document laying out what is to be done with your property after your death) is an essential element of an estate plan, but it is usually not the only element. There are many other crucial things that most estate plans should include.
A clear estate plan will also contain instructions to your doctors about your preferences for end of life care, in case you become unable to express them. This is known as a "living will." It should also include instructions about funeral arrangements and organ donation.
Perhaps most notably, your estate plan should make arrangements for the care and custody of your minor children, if you have any. Of course, you should discuss this matter with the person you intend to take custody of the children beforehand, to ensure that they are able and willing to provide proper care.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Honolulu, Hawaii?
Obviously, the answer to this depends on many factors, as well as your goals and preferences. But, most people, when deciding what type of estate plan they need, consider their health, age, and wealth.
If you are in good health, young, and not married, planning an estate is likely not a high priority. And at this time in your life, it doesn't really have to be, with a few possible exceptions, such as individuals who work in very hazardous jobs, or who are very wealthy.
Individuals who are, for various possible reasons, unwilling or unable to get married, but are in committed, lifelong relationships, are perhaps most in need of a good Honolulu, Hawaii estate plan. Because couples who aren't married don't automatically get any of the legal rights (such as hospital visitation, inheritance rights, and power of attorney) that come with marriage, they have to secure these rights through other means, such as wills and power of attorney agreements.
There is another large group of people who would benefit from having a good Honolulu, Hawaii estate plan: the elderly and those with a lot of money really need to consider making a comprehensive estate plan as soon as possible. While this necessarily involves facing some uncomfortable realities, it is crucial and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Honolulu, Hawaii Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning in Honolulu, Hawaii is not always confusing, but it certainly can be. In moderately-sized to large estates, with a significant number of potential beneficiaries, it is crucial to have the assistance of an estate planning professional.