In Hawaii, there are several options for handling a decedent’s estate. Which options are available for your case depends on the particular facts. Here is a very brief description of the basic choices.
Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property: simple, fast, cheap.
Did decedent leave only personal property, like clothes, furniture, a car, savings accounts, or stock? And are these items together worth less than $100,000? If so, the family can distribute this property without having to go to court. If an asset has to have the title changed (a car, for instance), you just fill out a form called an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property, have it notarized, present it to the people who are in charge of changing title, and that does it.
Small Estates Division: If the estate includes real estate, regardless of its value, you cannot use an Affidavit of Collection. The estate has to go through probate. But if personal property and real estate together are worth less than $100,000, the Small Estates Division of the Circuit Court could also do the work for you.
- Informal: Used when no one is fighting over the estate; documents are filed in court, but there are no hearings in front of a judge; the usual proceeding, and the fastest and least expensive.
- Formal: Used when there is a problem or dispute about one or a few specific issues; a judge is involved only to solve the disputed items; otherwise, case proceeds like an informal probate but costs somewhat more.
- Supervised: Used when there is a major fight over an estate; a judge supervises every step of the case; often there are numerous hearings; the longest and most expensive.
- Other Options: Special Procedures for Special Facts:
Summary Administration and Application for Authorization are rather unusual, fact-specific options.
Hawaii Probate Laws and Rules: The probate laws in Hawaii are found in chapter 560 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. To read the actual Hawaii probate statutes, click here.
To access The Hawaii Probate Rules which attorneys must follow when handling a probate case in Hawaii click here