HONOLULU (KHON2) — It’s a subject no one likes to think or talk about, but it’s an important one.
That’s where estate planning comes in to give you and your loved ones some peace of mind, during a tough time.
Would your loved ones know what to do, if something unfortunate happened to you? If they don’t, now would be a good time to get things in order.
“Estate planning is a plan that you set up so that if you become incapacitated or once you pass away, things will go relatively smoothly for family,” said Michelle Scully Hobus, an estate planning attorney for Sterling & Tucker attorney.
She says the first thing you should do is make a list of your assets.
“Kind of take stock of what you have, what you’ve accumulated over the years, what’s in the bank accounts, what are in the investments, retirement, any real estate, timeshares, vacant land,” said Hobus.
After that, she recommends simplifying your life.
“If you see you have 17 bank accounts at 20 different institutions or something, you should probably consolidate things and simplify things because as we get older, it’s harder to keep track of our things,” Hobus added.
She also advises you to consider how you want your assets divided.
“Maybe they have kids that aren’t responsible and reliable and need extra guidance,” Hobus explained. “Or maybe they have family members they have fallen out of favor with and not in communication with anymore.”
Plans can also include what to do if you become incapacitated or incompetent. Decide who you trust to manage your affairs. And kupuna, shouldn’t be the only ones thinking about this.
“Normally I would suggest any time you have children you should start thinking of getting an estate plan in order because we’ve seen that life happens in mysterious ways, things that we can’t predict and having something in place really does give you some peace of mind,” Hobus stated.
If you already have a plan in place, but it’s been a while since you made it, you should review it. You might need to make some changes. And finally, have that conversation with loved ones, even though it may be difficult.
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“Let your family know that you have a plan in place, let them know what the plan is, so no surprises and everybody understands what your wishes are and it’s coming from you,” said Hobus.