Law Office of Bill Paupe, Jr.
Estate Planning -Wills-Revocable Trusts-Power of Attorney
Probate Matters-Name Change

Castle Professional Center
46-001 Kamehameha Hwy., Suite 216
Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744
Phone: (808) 235-0800 / Fax (888) 848-6891
What's In An Estate Plan

     A common misconception is that only wealthy people need to have an estate plan.  The truth is, we all need an estate plan, regardless of our wealth.  Estate planning arranges for the care of children, distributes personal wealth and property to whom you want to receive it, and if you should become incapacitated, can help make financial and health decisions on your behalf. 

LAST WILL & TESTAMENT                                      

     A will can be the foundation of your estate plan.  It names the executor of your estate, and for those with minor children, a will lets you name their legal guardian.  However, a will is only one part of what you need to ensure that your assets are preserved for your future needs and those of your heirs.  Without further estate planning, many of your assets that are only addressed in the will can be lost to court costs, legal fees, unforeseen conflict with heirs, and taxes.

REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST                                

     An effective way to ensure that your assets are managed according to your wishes during and after your life is to create a trust.  A trust is for anyone who wants to make sure their assets are protected and managed according to their specific wishes.  Wills and trusts govern assets that are subject to probate (especially important for those who own real estate!), and can help avoid the time and expense involved with that process.  For parents with young children, a trust can ensure that assets will be used for health & education expenses, and not be wasted away.

     Having a revocable living trust in place, along with a Financial & Medical Power of Attorney, will prove to be powerful and effective tools to manage your financial affairs when you are unable to speak for yourself.  With a revocable trust, you retain complete control over the assets in the trust as long as you are mentally competant to do so.  Should you become permanently disabled or incapacitated, your chosen successor trustee steps in to manage your assets according to the provisions set forth by you in your trust.


     In a power of attorney, you name an agent (or agents) to transact business on your behalf (such as paying bills & writing checks).  A general power of attorney is used to give broad authority to your agent, while a limited power of attorney gives very limited and specific powers to your agent, such as to sell your house.  A power of attorney with a trust is an effective way to carry out your financial wishes if you become incapacitated.


     For issues relating to health care you want to receive in the event of a serious injury or illness, or who has the medical authority to act on your behalf, you must establish an advance health care directive.  This document allows you to specify the medical treatment you want under specific circumstances, including instructions regarding nutrition and hydration, feeding tubes, pain medication, and cardiopulmonary and resuscitation.  It also authorizes someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to. 


     Another key advantage in having a comprehensive estate plan centered around a Trust, is to allow your assets to pass to your loved ones promptly and avoid the lengthy time and various expenses of probate.  An AARP national survey found that Probate can consume up to 12% of your estate's assets, can delay the time your loved ones will have access to your assets that you specifically leave to them (up to 12 months!) and will allow your asset records to be viewed by anyone in the public.

     While each of the above described documents are very useful, it is only when they work together will you have the utmost peace of mind in taking care of yourself and your loved ones.

     I hope that you have found this information helpful.  I truly believe in the importance of having a comprehensive estate plan in place for everyone who wants ensure that their loved ones are taken care of, and make sure their financial and medical wishes and desires are carried out when they are unable to speak on their own behalf.  Whether you are newly married with minor children, or are nearing/at retirement with adult children, I welcome the opportunity to speak with you to help answer any questions or concerns you may have.  Not everyone needs a complex estate plan, but we can all use some type of estate planning to prevent and avoid future problems or conflicts.  

     Thank you for taking the time to read over this article.  I do hope that it has been very helpful and look foward to meeting with you in the near future.  Please do not hesitate to call me for a FREE in person or phone consultation to discuss your own situation and what plan is best for you.

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