When Do You Need a Last Will and Testament in Hawaii?
Did you know that if you die without a written will, the state of Hawaii renders you intestate while invoking the intestacy state laws? This is the simpler version: if you die without a will, you are referred as a decedent, and the state takes over distributing your estate. That means that even if you would have loved for some of your estate to be put away in a trust, it may not happen. The person who gets your assets get to do whatever they wish with your hard-earned money. That also means that if you ever wanted to create and leave a legacy or you wish for your businesses to outlast you, you have to write down your wishes in a will.
Once the intestacy laws kick in, not even your best friends can say how your estate is distributed. Why? Well, in the state's asset distribution hierarchy for decedents' estates, friends come in at the bottom and after all your blood relatives.
So, how do the intestacy laws work in Hawaii?
At a time when an interested party goes to the court to ask for the distribution of assets, control is out of the hands of your loved one. The state determines that without a will and if you don't have any kids or descendants, your spouse inherits your all property, no questions asked. This also applies if you had children with the surviving spouse.
However, things change, and the share that goes to the spouse will vary depending on whether or not the decedent had other children from another relationship. The share to the spouse will also reduce if the decedent has surviving parents.
On the other hand, if a decedent does not have any surviving children, a spouse or parents, the state laws applicable in intestacy will grant shares of your estate to your siblings, and if you are an alone child, the estate goes to your grandparents, uncles, and uncles. Basically, relatives closer to the decedent's bloodline are high on the list of asset distribution/ inheritance.
Taking all this in, it sounds like the state will do what it deems fit and your wishes will not be known, right?
So, what exactly is a will and when do you need it?
A free last will and testament in Hawaii refers to the legal instrument that recognizes your wishes in regards to asset distribution after your demise. It is different from the living will because the living will is only enforceable while you are alive and only when you are unable to make those decisions because of geography or mental/ physical incapacitation.
For as long as you are alive, the directives of the living will, as per your terms, are in effect. However, the living will ceases being active when you pass away, and the last will and testament takes effect.
A last will gives you control over your estate even in your death, and as long as it is valid, you can use it to protect your estate and your loved one.
That free Hawaii last will and testament comes in handy in the following ways:
It lets you determine who you want to have a part of your estate
When left to the government, your spouse, kids, and other blood relatives are on top of the list of the beneficiaries to your estate. However, if you create a will, you may give your inheritance to your best friend, to an organization, to your child even if the spouse will still be there, or you could choose to distribute your estate to your loved ones in order of preference. A will lets you do whatever you wish, and you don't have to feel bad about it.
You can also assign a percentage towards the care of a pet by setting up a trust.
It lets you decide how much protection your children get after your demise.
What this means is that you get to choose a responsible guardian for your minor kids and as long as the person accepts the responsibility, you get to name them in the will. You also determine how much of your estate gets enlisted in your children's names and when they can access their stake.
The other way of protecting your kids is by creating a testamentary trust in the will for your children. This will offers security to your children or even your grandkids.
A last will lets you determine if you want your business to run after you die (as if you are there)
While the new board of directors may have a new way of doing things, you can make your presence felt by coming up with a business succession plan in the will. If you want to create a family empire, then indicating your wishes and succession plans in the will keeps the business in the family.
It outlines the roles of the executor
By accepting the role of an executor, it means that you accept the honor as well as the subsequent obligations attached to the role. That means that you should think carefully about the role and whether you want to take it on or not.
The leading roles of the executor include notifying financial institutions and the government of your passing, filing a copy of the will with the probate court, setting up a bank account for incoming funds and bills. An executor also files an inventory of your assets with the court while also determining the appropriate kind of probate court. They also have to maintain your estate until it's distributed or even sold and to pay taxes and debts. They also distribute the assets.
Validity of the will
Note that you should be at least 18 years or older, with a sound mind at the time of the will's creation, and you should have the will in writing. The will must have your signature as well as the signatures of 2 competent witnesses.
You also need to include a list of your preferred beneficiaries.
Note that holographic wills are acceptable in Hawaii. Holographic wills are handwritten, and it should be proven that the signature and the content of the will are in your own handwriting.
Can you change the will?
Yes, and you can do it at any time, as long as you are alive. To change it, you need a new will or a codicil (amendment following the formalities of the original will).
Can you revoke the will?
Yes. Either by executing a new will that revokes the powers of the previous will or by undertaking a revocatory act - tearing, burning, destroying, or obliterating, voluntarily.
To get all the benefits of the wills outlined above, get our free last will and testament forms online today.