Opinions and Legal Insights

Who Are Next Of Kin In Hawaii?

In Hawaii, “next of kin” for purposes of intestate succession (when someone dies without a will) generally include the closest relatives of the decedent, specifically the:

  1. Surviving spouse
  2. Children
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings
  5. Grandparents

 

A person’s status as next of kin only comes into play for inheritance purposes in Hawaii if the decedent died without a valid will, or if a decedent’s will does not effectively dispose of all of the decedent’s assets.

What Next Of Kin Inherit Under Hawaii Intestate Succession Law?

The next of kin in line to inherit under Hawaii’s laws of intestate succession depend on the other people that survived the decedent.  As a general rule, if there are surviving relatives more closely related to the decedent, the closest relatives will inherit first.

Survivors Of The Decedent

Share Of Intestate Estate

Surviving spouse only

–          Spouse inherits entire estate

Surviving spouse and descendants (all children shared between decedent and surviving spouse)

–          Spouse inherits entire estate

Surviving spouse and descendants, and spouse has descendants from another relationship

–          Spouse inherits $150,000 of intestate property and ½ of the balance of intestate property

–          Descendants inherit remaining ½ of intestate property by representation

Surviving spouse and descendants, and at least one child is descendant of decedent and another relationship

–          Spouse inherits $100,000 of intestate property and ½ of the balance of intestate property

–          Descendants inherit remaining ½ of intestate property

Descendants only, no surviving spouse

–          Descendants inherit entire estate by representation

Surviving spouse and parents

–          Spouse inherits $200,000 of intestate property and ¾ of the balance of intestate property

–          Parents inherit remaining ¼ of intestate property

Parents only, no surviving spouse or descendants

–          Parents inherit entire estate

Siblings only, no surviving spouse, descendants, or parents

–          Siblings inherit entire estate

Grandparents only, no siblings, surviving spouse, descendants, or parents

–          ½ to paternal grandparents or descendants

–          ½ to maternal grandparents or descendants

–          If one side has no survivors, other side inherits entire estate

Hawaii’s next of kin intestate succession laws can be found in HI Rev Stat §§ 560:2-102 (spouse’s share) and 560:2-103 (share of heirs other than surviving spouse).

What Assets Do Next of Kin Heirs Inherit In Hawaii?

An intestate beneficiary in Hawaii inherits only a decedent’s probate assets.  Assets that pass outside of probate, such as accounts with a designated pay-on-death beneficiary or revocable trust assets, are not inherited by the intestate beneficiaries by virtue of being a next of kin heir at law.

To learn more about probate versus non-probate assets, see Probate and Non-Probate Assets Chart.

Survivorship Requirement Under Hawaii Law

Hawaii law also requires that an intestate beneficiary survive the decedent by one hundred twenty hours.  Section 560:2-104, Hawaii Statutes, states:

An individual who fails to survive the decedent by one hundred twenty hours is deemed to have predeceased the decedent for purposes of homestead allowance, exempt property, and intestate succession, and the decedent’s heirs are determined accordingly. If it is not established by clear and convincing evidence that an individual who would otherwise be an heir survived the decedent by one hundred twenty hours, it is deemed that the individual failed to survive for the required period. This section is not to be applied if its application would result in a taking of intestate estate by the State under section 560:2-105.

Does The State of Hawaii Ever Inherit A Decedent’s Property?

It is exceedingly rare for the State of Hawaii to inherit a Decedent’s property.  Hawaii law goes out of its way to make sure that if there are any surviving relatives, even the most remote, the decedent’s relatives inherit a decedent’s intestate estate.

Even if a next of kin intestate heir fails to survive the decedent by one hundred twenty hours, if enforcing the survivorship period would result in the State of Hawaii inheriting the Decedent’s property, the provision does not apply.

Determining status as a next of kin heir under Hawaii intestate succession law can be confusing — a Hawaii probate lawyer can help.