Hawaii State Specific Information

Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, and Estate Planning

Official state laws:

  • Hawaii Revised Statutes
  • Probate jurisdiction rests with the Circuit Court (Section 603-21.6)
  • Probate laws are primarily under Title 30A, Chapter 560

Minimum age requirement to:

  • Distribute property by will: 18 (Section 560:2-501)
  • Which minor gets property: 21

Holographic will recognized (Section 560:2-502(b) and 560:2-503)

State taxes:

  • Estate tax: Equal to federal credit for state death taxes (Section 236D-3)
  • State gift tax:Inheritance tax: No inheritance tax (Section 236D-3)
    • No state gift tax (Section 236D-3)
    • Anatomical Gift Act (Section 327-1)
  • Inheritance tax: No inheritance tax (Section 236D-3)

Default rules: How property is distributed if there is no will, i.e. laws of intestate succession:

  • No surviving spouse, but there are surviving children:
    • All of the estate goes to the surviving children split equally among them or to their children in accordance to their per stirpes share (Section 560:2-103(1))
  • Surviving spouse and
    • Children of surviving spouse:
      • All of your estate will pass to your spouse
      • Children not of the surviving spouse (for example your children from a previous marriage):
        • $150,000 and one-half (1/2) of your remaining estate will pass to your surviving spouse, and
        • The other one-half (1/2) of your estate will be split equally among your children or to their children according to their per stirpes share
        • No children and both of your parents of deceased:
          • All of your estate will pass to your spouse
        • No children, but at least one of your parents survives you:
          • $200,000 and three-fourths (3/4) of your remaining estate will pass to surviving spouse, and
          •  the other one-fourth (1/4), split equally among the surviving parents
  • At least one parent survives you, but no surviving spouse or children:
    • All of your estate will pass to your surviving parents equally
  • No spouse, children, or parents:
    • Siblings (brothers and sisters) equally or to their children according to their per stirpes share. If none, then to grandparents. If none, then to aunts and uncles equally

Who must be named as a beneficiary in your will:

  • Surviving spouse (Section 560:2-302), andChildren, born or adopted (Section 560:2-301)
    • Surviving spouse must be given:
      • One-half (1/2) of your community property, but right to additional property regardless of what your will says depends on the length of the marriage. See statutes for details (Section 510:10 and 560:2-202)
  • Children, born or adopted (Section 560:2-301)

Effects of changes in your marital status on your will:

  • You are divorced from the surviving spouse:
    • Revokes will as to divorced surviving spouse, unless will expressly provides for divorced surviving spouse (Section 560:2-802)
  • You get married without changing your will that does not provide for your new spouse:
    • Revokes will as to spouse, unless will expressly provides for spouse, but spouse may still be entitled to shares under state intestate law (Section 560:2-301)


  • Minimum number of witnesses required: Two (Section 560:2-502(3))
  • Are witnesses allowed to be beneficiaries?: Yes (Section 560:2-505(b))
  • Requirements to be a witness, witnesses must:
    • Be an adult,
    • At least one of your witnesses cannot be related to you by blood or marriage,
    • Cannot be someone you appoint as your agent, healthcare provider, or an employee of your healthcare provider, and
    • not be entitled to anything in your will

Property ownership (Section 509-1, 509-2, and 510-22+):

  • Community property state
  • Jointly held property is presumed to be held as tenancy in common, unless title expressly and clearly creates a joint tenancy with right of survivorship or tenancy by the entirety is created
  • Bank account deposits held jointly are payable to any survivor named in the bank account, unless there is clear evidence that deposit is payable only to a specified survivor

Other types of wills:

  • Self-proving wills recognized: Yes, recognized (Section 560:2-504)
  • Living will: Instruction for Health Care Directive (Section 327E-3). Requires:
    • doctor certification not required, and
    • applies to terminal condition where you will die in a relatively short period of time, become unconscious, and to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, not regain consciousness, or the likely risks and burdens of treatment would outweigh the expected benefits
  • Durable Power of Attorney:
    • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Instructions for Health Care in the Hawaii Advanced Health Care Directive (Section 327E-3)
    • Durable Power of Attorney (Sections 551D-1 to 551-7)