We understand that the loss of a loved one can be stressful. Administering an estate or a trust without the proper knowledge or experience only adds to that stress, as there is a substantial amount of paperwork to be completed when someone you love has died. We also understand that your time, thoughts and energy may be better spent focusing on other family members or other demands. If your loved one had a will-based plan, we help you with the probate proceeding. If your loved one had a trust-based plan, we help you with the estate administration or probate proceeding. If your loved one died intestate (i.e., without a will or trust), the laws of the State of Hawaii will dictate where the assets will go, and we can help you with the intestacy proceedings.
Both probate and intestacy proceedings involve court involvement to make sure that the bills are paid and the assets are distributed properly. If your loved one had a will, we help you submit the will to the court. From there, the probate and intestacy procedures are similar. We help you inventory the assets, publish a notice to the creditors, ensure that legitimate creditors are paid, and distribute the balance to the appropriate beneficiaries. The court must approve your actions, and if not done properly, a substantial amount of time and money may be spent during the probate or intestacy process. At Estate Planning Group, we will assist you throughout the court proceedings to avoid unnecessary cost or delay.
If your loved one had a trust-based estate plan, the court does not have to be involved; however, there is still action that must be taken – the trust must be administered. We represent trustees, advising them of their fiduciary and legal duties to creditors and beneficiaries of the trust. A trustee holds a fiduciary position, and as such, the trustee must take care in his/her actions. We help trustees inventory the assets, prepare trust accountings, keep the beneficiaries informed, and distribute the assets in accordance with the trust document. If the terms of the trust allow for immediate distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries, the trust administration may be completed fairly quickly, and, compared to a probate or intestacy proceeding, more cost efficiently. We also represent beneficiaries in ensuring their rights under the trust are protected.