Don’t wait until it’s too late, the head of the law firm speaks from experience

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HONOLULU (KHON2) – Writing a will or a living trust and simply getting your finances in order before something unexpected happens is something many people put off until it’s too late .

Michelle Ogata is a graduate of Pearl City High School and the University of Hawaii. She now runs Estate Planning Partners, a law firm focused on understanding the client’s family, assets and goals, and then developing an estate plan in the event of a family member’s death. .

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“So that ultimately the families who left with a big mess after they left. And another big goal is for their assets to end up with the right people,” Ogata said.

Without a legal trust, Ogata said families can not only waste a lot of time and energy, but ultimately a lot of money.

Ogata said, “Attorney fees can add up. It takes time, and the courts are very busy, so do the planning paperwork to avoid the family ending up in those court proceedings.

And sadly, it happens all too often – families fight over money or possessions when a family member dies, making an already difficult situation even worse.

“Especially in the state of Hawaii, because housing is so valuable that home is often a common thing to fight over. With these documents, we try to minimize or avoid this theft if possible”

Michelle Ogata, Estate Planning Partners

“We’ve seen a lot of families go through heartache and fights and spend a lot of their inheritance on attorney fees because the paperwork wasn’t in place, it wasn’t filed properly, or it was filed. were updated,” Ogata explained.

Ogata said the decision to switch to trust law is a direct result of what she witnessed firsthand as a young girl when she lost her father.

Ogata explained that in his family, his father “takes care of the finances and my mother raises the children. His passing was very sudden and when he passed my mother was left with his disorder. She had to go through a probate procedure and the bank accounts were frozen.

“I was 12 at the time, so I had no idea what they were talking about,” Ogata said. “But what I took away from those meetings with his lawyer was that it gave him peace of mind knowing that if anything happened to him, a plan was in place for me and my sister to be caught. in charge and that we would not be left with a mess after he left”

Today, his company is not only growing its customer base, but has recently completed construction of a brand new location.

And like those she served, she said COVID has forced the company to change while staying true to the company’s core mission of preparing for the unknown.

“I think estate planning has this kind of stigma that it’s there for older people, but with COVID, as you know – young, old – it could affect anyone, so what he did , is that a lot of people have moved forward to get it done,” Ogata said.

Ogata added that “we had a lot of clients in healthcare and they work with COVID patients on a daily basis and so even more so it was something they wanted to do, and they wanted it done soon. “

These customers are the fuel for the success of his business.

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“A lot of our business comes from referrals from clients referring colleagues, families, friends. So we put our clients and their needs first, but in turn, that just leads to a more successful business for us” , Ogata said.

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