Hawaii Probate Options

An experienced attorney can guide you through the process

When the estate of a loved one needs to go through probate, many families aren’t sure what to do next. There are several options for probate and many factors that determine which option is most appropriate in your situation. Hongo Law Office, LLLC can guide you through the process every step of the way.

Attorney Yuka Hongo helps families in Japan and Hawaii navigate the probate process after the loss of a loved one. She has lived and worked in Japan and the United States and uses her experience, legal knowledge and bilingual skills to help clients overcome language and cultural barriers during this difficult time.

Probate can be a very confusing process. That’s why it’s important to have an attorney who can anticipate problems, deal with disputes and protect assets in the estate as much as possible. In Hawaii, there are several options for probate. The one that works best for your situation depends on many factors.

Small Estate

This is a simplified probate process handled by the Small Estates division of the Circuit Court. It is only an option if the person owned real estate, but the value of all assets total $100,000 or less. A notice is published and creditors have a limited time to make a claim against the estate before assets are distributed.

Informal Probate

An informal probate is administrative and does not involve court hearings. This is an option when there are no disputes among beneficiaries, no difficult issues involving creditors or other problems. You (or another family member) file an application with the court to serve as personal representative of the estate. You are responsible for overseeing the steps of the probate process. After all property has been distributed, you file a “final accounting” with the court and a closing statement.

Unsupervised Formal Probate

This option is used when there are disputes involving the estate. In this type of probate, the court plays a greater role. A personal representative needs to get approval from a judge for certain actions including selling property and distributing assets. The judge settles any disputes among beneficiaries or over amounts due to creditors. This option takes longer and costs more than an informal probate.

Supervised Formal Probate

In this option, the court oversees the entire probate process because there are major disputes involving the estate. This type of probate usually involves large estates with valuable assets. There are typically several court hearings during this process. This option can be very lengthy and very costly.

Attorney Hongo can help you determine which option for probate is most appropriate for your situation and guide you through the process. She works to ensure that probate is conducted properly, assets are inventoried, creditors are paid and assets distributed the way your loved one wanted them to be.

Learn more about we can help. Contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss the probate process. Our office is in Honolulu. Attorney Hongo also meets with clients in Japan during her visits there, typically twice a year.