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Your Hawaii last will and testament, created with confidence

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Hawaiian wills tailored to your needs

Last Will and Testament

For One Person

A do-it-yourself last will that’s easy to personalize.

$99
What’s included:
What’s included
Step-by-step guided process
Attorney-approved document compliant with your state’s laws
A last will and testament that’s customized to your wishes
Free changes and revisions to your will for up to one full year after purchase

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Estate Planning Package

For One person

All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan

$189
What’s included:
What’s included
Last will and testament
Health care directive
Power of attorney
Free HIPAA release form
A comprehensive plan — for less
Free changes and revisions for up to one year after purchase

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A quick and easy option for your Hawaiian will

Under Hawaiian law, residents who die without a valid will lose control of how their property is distributed to their loved ones. That’s because Hawaii’s intestacy statute gives a probate court the power to distribute your assets to your family members under the statute’s terms. FindLaw’s easy-to-use tools help you create a will that ensures your assets are allocated according to your wishes and not those of the state. You can use our forms to control what happens to your property, decide what age beneficiaries can access their inheritance, and safeguard your estate by explicitly disinheriting individuals you do not wish to inherit.

JP_Finet_image

Written by:

J.P. Finet, J.D.

Contributing Author

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Reviewed by:

Tim Kelly, J.D.

Contributing Author

How It Works

It only takes minutes to control your future. Need help? Contact one of our directory attorneys.

Create an account

Create a secure account which is accessible through an easy dashboard you can access any time.

Gather information

You will need a list of your assets, contact information for important people, and any wishes you want to be honored when you’re gone.

Complete your documents

Answer all questions, then we’ll generate your digital documents for downloading, printing, and signing.

Make it legal

Carefully follow the instructions provided in the form, which may include signing your documents in front of witnesses or a notary.

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Plan for your future with confidence

This free guide will help you:

  • Learn the most common estate planning terms

  • Understand the essential estate planning tools

  • Gather critical information with an estate planning checklist

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What are the steps for drafting a Hawaiian will?

While each will is unique, as a general rule, following the following steps should let you create a Hawaiian will that ensures your assets are distributed in the manner you choose.

Clearly identify yourself

You should start your will by stating the full legal name of the person for whom the will is being written—often referred to as the “testator.” The document should then list your city and county of residence.

Appoint a personal representative

A personal representative is a person or organization who will be responsible for distributing your assets under the terms of your will after you die. A personal representative is sometimes referred to as an “executor.” Additionally, a personal representative will oversee and administer your estate until the assets can be fully distributed.

When you choose a personal representative, it is essential that you pick an individual who you trust and who will act in the best interests of your heirs and beneficiaries. Additionally, the person or organization must accept responsibility for being your executor.

When appointing a personal representative, you should include their full legal name and the city, county, and state where they reside. In addition, you should appoint an alternate representative should your primary choice be unable to represent your estate.

Name your beneficiaries

Your beneficiaries are the people or organizations to whom you intend to leave your assets or property when you die. Your will should also clearly lay out how your assets are to be divided between your beneficiaries.

Remember, if your will is not clear on how your assets are to be divided, the probate court will step in and resolve any disputes between beneficiaries. This process can take months, or even years, and can get very expensive for your beneficiaries, who usually hire lawyers to represent them. Most importantly, if your will is not clear, your assets may not be distributed in the manner you want.

If you are having trouble determining who should inherit your assets, it is often good to start with members of your immediate family and those who are dependent upon you financially. But you are free to leave money or assets to people outside of your family or even organizations you support.

Name a guardian for your minor children

Children under the age of 18 are not allowed to directly inherit money or property in Hawaii. That means you need to name a guardian to both care for them and protect their financial interests until they are old enough to receive their inheritance. While many people will name one guardian to fill both roles, you do have the option of naming separate individuals to care for your children’s physical and financial well-being.

When choosing someone to serve as guardian for your children, it is best to name someone who is financially stable, in good health, and shares your parenting style. Most people choose a family member to serve as guardian of their children. But there is no requirement that the person be related to you, so feel free to choose a friend if you believe they are better able to care for your children.

Making the will legally enforceable

The process of ensuring that the courts can enforce your will is known as “executing” the will. To execute a will in Hawaii, a person must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. Additionally, the will must be either typed, printed, or handwritten on paper. No audio, video, or other digital formats are considered legally binding.

To finalize your will, Hawaiian law requires that you sign your will in front of two witnesses and that the witnesses also sign the will. There are no witnesses required for handwritten wills, known as “holographic wills, ” if they are written in the handwriting of the maker’s signature. Hawaii allows people who stand to inherit from the will to sign the document.

While there is no requirement that Hawaiian wills be notarized, it is necessary for the will to be “self-proving.” A self-proving will allows the probate court to accept the will without needing to contact the signing witnesses, which speeds up the process.

Keep your will in a safe place

Your will and other estate planning documents need to be kept in a place that is both safe and easily accessed when needed. If you choose to keep your will locked up in a safe or filing cabinet, make sure your family members or personal representative know how to gain access.

If you choose to keep your will in a safe deposit box, you will also need to make sure that you allow your family, attorney, or personal representative can access the box. They can go to court to force the bank to open the box for you, but the process is both time-consuming and expensive.

Regularly review your will

 As you grow older, your personal and financial circumstances will change. You should review your will every few years to be sure it still addresses your personal, family, and financial situation and how you want your estate to be handled.

You may want to speak with a lawyer if you:

  • Have a past divorce, blended family, or other complex family situation
  • Have a high-value estate
  • Own a business
  • Want to create a special needs trust
  • Want legal review of your completed will
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Common questions about Hawaiian last will and testaments

legally executed will tells your survivors what you want to be done with your property and other assets when you die. It should provide clear guidance on a number of issues, including:

  • Explaining who should inherit your assets and how much each person should receive
  • Specifying how your assets should be distributed to your beneficiaries
  • Naming a guardian to care for your minor children and manage their assets until they are 18
  • Naming a personal representative who will ensure your assets are distributed under the terms of your will

There are only two prerequisites for creating a legally enforceable will under Hawaiian law:

  • The person making the will must be at least 18 years old
  • The maker must be of sound mind

Hawaiian law states that to be of sound mind an individual must be aware of the following:

  • The nature and extent of their assets and property
  • The identity of their beneficiaries and their relationship to them
  • The manner in which they are distributing their assets
  • How the above-listed elements form a rational and orderly plan for disposing of their estate

If a person is too ill to physically sign their will, Hawaiian law allows them to direct someone else to sign it on their behalf. The person (known as a “testator”) whose will is being signed must be conscious and in the presence of the person signing the will on their behalf. Additionally, the signer must be doing so at the direction of the testator. That means you can’t sign a will on behalf of an individual who is asleep or unconscious.

If you die without a will in Hawaii, your property is distributed according to the state intestacy law. Every state has an intestacy law that governs how a person’s assets are distributed if they die without a will.

Under Hawaii’s intestacy law, your spouse inherits your entire estate if you have no children or children only with that spouse. If you or your spouse have children from other relationships, the children inherit any assets above a certain amount that is reserved for your spouse.

If you have a spouse and living parents, but no children, Hawaiian law dedicates a small portion of your estate to your parents. If you are unmarried, your parents will inherit everything when you die.

Hawaiian law lets you change your will at any point before you die. This is done by either executing a new one that expressly revokes the current document, or amending an existing will. An amendment to a will is known as a “codicil” and must be executed in the same manner as your will.

You can also revoke your will by tearing it up or otherwise destroying the document yourself. If you cannot do so yourself, someone else can do it in your presence and on your behalf. Revoking your will without creating a replacement means that, if you die, you will be intestate and the probate court will distribute your assets under the terms dictated by Hawaiian law.

living will addresses how you would like medical decisions to be made on your behalf if you cannot communicate them. This document may also be referred to as an “advance directive form.” It provides instructions on the medical treatments and procedures you would like to be followed with regard to your end-of-life care.

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