Making a will online is similar in every state, but there are key differences you should know. Each U.S. state has its own legal requisites for a will to be recognized as valid. When you are making an online will in Hawaii, you want to make sure you meet those requirements. It is best to use an online will making service that has state-specific templates and to use an online will that is customized for Hawaii.
Can I Make a Will Online in Hawaii?
Yes, you can make a will online in Hawaii. Using an online making service is the easiest way to do so. We recommend USLegalWills to make a will online.
The legal requirements to make a will in Hawaii are:
- The Testator (the person making the will) must be at least 18 years of age.
- The Testator must be of sound mind.
- The will must be in writing.
- The will must be intended to serve as the Testator’s last will and testament.
- The will must be signed.
- The will must be signed by two witnesses, also at least 18 years of age and of sound mind. If not signed by two witnesses, the will may be accepted as a holographic will.
After making an online will in Hawaii, you must print it out and sign it. There are a few states that allow digital-only wills, meaning the will can be made online, signed, and witnessed electronically without making a hard copy. However, the state of Hawaii does not allow digital-only wills at this time.
While Hawaii does not have any state laws prohibiting a beneficiary in the will to act as a witness, it is usually better to select witnesses that are “uninterested parties” (or do not stand to inherit in the will).
Does Hawaii Require a Notarized Will?
When a will is presented in the probate court, it must be validated. If you do not have your will notarized, the court may call upon the witnesses to testify to its authenticity. This can delay the probate process. In most cases, it is not the will itself that gets notarized. Instead, there is a separate document.
Hawaii allows for wills to be “self-proven” through a notarized affidavit. You and your witnesses make a written sworn statement in front of a notary public, which is then attached to the will. Once you obtain a certificate with a notary officer’s official seal, attach it to your will, your will is considered to be “self-proven” in Hawaii. This can help the probate court to quickly validate the will.
Having a notarized will can help the probate court to quickly validate the will and allow the executor of the estate to carry out the will. However, in most cases the will itself is not what gets notarized; instead, there is a separate document, called a “self-proving affidavit” which is notarized and attached to the will.
Can I Name an Executor in Hawaii?
The executor of your estate is the person chosen to settle the estate, ensuring that the will is followed. You can name an executor when you make an online will in Hawaii. You want to name someone you know and trust to be the executor. Ideally, it is someone who is organized and detail-oriented. If an executor is not named in the will in Hawaii, the probate court will appoint an executor to handle the estate.
Here are the requirements for an executor in Hawaii:
- The executor must be at least 18 years of age, and
- Of sound mind (that is, not judged incapacitated by a court).
Some states prohibit those who have felony convictions to act as executors, but Hawaii does not have any statutes prohibiting it.
To name an executor who lives out-of-state, there are no special restrictions in Hawaii. It is usually more practical to name someone who lives nearby, however, as executors often have to handle matters for weeks or sometimes months when settling an estate.
Do I Need an Attorney to Make a Will in Hawaii?
No, an attorney is not required to make a will. You should consult an estate planning attorney if your estate is very large or complex. But, in most cases (when your estate is simple and your will straightforward), online will making is a good option. You want to be sure that you follow all the legal requirements for Hawaii so that your will is valid. Use an online will making service that has templates customized for the state.
What Types of Wills Are Valid in Hawaii?
Whether or not made online, any type of will that satisfies federal and state-specific requirements are valid in Hawaii.
Can I Make a Holographic Will in Hawaii?
Holographic wills are handwritten last will and testaments signed only by the person making the will (no other witnesses). Hawaii recognizes holographic wills as long as the signature and the material portions are in the Testator’s handwriting. However, holographic wills can face delays in probate court. They do not always include important provisions, and witnesses must testify to confirm the authenticity of the handwriting.
Can I Make a Nuncupative or Video Will in Hawaii?
A nuncupative will is an oral will, sometimes left on video. In any state, a nuncupative will is considered an emergency or last resort type of will; if the individual is facing imminent death and has not drafted a written will, a nuncupative will is better than leaving no instructions at all.
Currently, Hawaii does not recognize nuncupative wills as valid. To avoid long legal delays, it is best to draft a written will.
How Is a Living Will Different from an Online Will in Hawaii?
A living will, also called an advance health care directive, is a legal document separate from a last will and testament. It is a form that gives instructions on medical decisions and end-of-life care. Usually, the last will and testament is not consulted after the funeral, making it the wrong place to leave such instructions.
Instead, you leave these instructions in a form (the Advance Health Care Directive). You should give this form to the executor of your estate or another trusted person. You can make both a last will and testament and a living will/AHCD online.
In Hawaii, the requirements for a living will to be valid are as follows:
- It must have two witness signatures on it, OR
- It must be signed by a notary public. It cannot have both.
- One of the witnesses must not be related to you or have inheritance rights. The witnesses cannot be your health care agent, a health care provider, or an employee of a health care facility.
You want to inform your family as well as your doctors that you have an AHCD. You can find the AHCD form for Hawaii here.
Why Do I Need to Make a Will Online in Hawaii?
If someone dies without a will, they are considered intestate. Intestacy laws of Hawaii will then determine what happens to any property that person owns. This can often be a lengthy legal process. The state will appoint a guardian for any minor children and appoint an executor for the estate. The estate is divided up according to the intestacy distribution laws of Hawaii between surviving family members. Often, property will be held up in the probate court process for months at a time.
If an individual dies without a will, the intestacy laws of Hawaii will determine what happens to all the property which belonged to that person. It becomes a lengthy legal process. Hawaii will appoint a guardian for any minor children and an executor of the estate to pay any debts and to handle the distribution of property. The estate will be divided between surviving family members according to the intestacy distribution laws of the particular state. Property held by the individual who died will often be held up in the probate court process for months at a time.
If you have any minor children or own any property, it is wise to make a will.
What Can I Include in an Online Will in Hawaii?
In an online will in Hawaii, in addition to selecting an executor, you can also:
- Pick someone as a guardian for any minor children.
- Pick someone trusted to oversee any property left to minor children.
- Pick someone to care for any remaining pets.
- Leave property or gifts to family members or friends.
- Leave property or gifts to organizations or charities.
- Pick how to distribute family heirlooms as well as personal or sentimental items.
What Should Not Be Included in a Will in Hawaii?
As mentioned, a last will and testament is not the right place for medical directives or end-of-life care. It is also not the right place to leave funeral directions. Because the will is not typically read until after the funeral, your family might not know about your wishes until after the funeral.
Instead, for medical directives and end-of-life care, create an Advance Health Care Directive (known as a living will). Give copies to the executor of your estate or any other trusted persons, keeping the original stored safely with your will. Tell doctors you have an AHCD.
For funeral directions, you can talk with family members. You can also make a separate document that describes your wishes to give to family members, the executor of your estate, or any other trusted person.
Can I Change or Revoke an Online Will Made in Hawaii?
A will is a legally binding document, whether it is made online or not. However, as long as the Testator is living, the will can be changed or revoked.
In Hawaii, here are ways to change or revoke a will:
- You can make a new will that revokes the old one by explicitly stating it revokes the old one or that contains contradictory terms to the old one.
- You can perform a revocatory act on the will, which is any act that physically destroys the will with the intent of revoking it.
- You can order someone else to perform a revocatory act on the will.
Any major life change—marriage or divorce, birth or adoption of a child, acquisition of significant assets, relocation to another state or country—should come with an update to your will. It is best to revoke an old will and make a new one, but you can also add an amendment to make minor changes. This is called a codicil, and it must be finalized in the same way a will is finalized.
How Do I Finalize an Online Will in Hawaii?
To finalize an online will in Hawaii, follow these steps:
- Print the will out,
- Sign the will, and
- Have two witnesses sign the will.
You can make your will “self-proved” in Hawaii by obtaining notarized affidavits with your signature and the signature of your witnesses. Attach a certificate with the notary public’s seal along with the affidavits to your will. Once “self-proved,” a will is validated much quicker.
USLegalWills is our recommendation for an online last will and testament. Their pricing is fair and the process of making an online will is easy. You can also create a Living Will. USLegalWills offers a free service to document funeral wishes and save final messages for loved ones.