Having experienced the unexpected death of her father at the age of 12, Michelle understood at an early age the importance of planning for the loss of a loved one. For Michelle’s mother, losing her husband was tough enough, but at the age of 39, having to raise two young children with no planning and little guidance made it even tougher. From her mid-teens and on, Michelle attended meetings with her mother and her mother’s estate planning attorney. She knew that the type of planning her mother did was there to protect her and her sister, and to ensure that things went smoothly should something happen to her mother. Michelle may not have fully understood her mother’s estate plan, but she knew it gave her mother peace of mind. This was the foundation of Michelle’s desire to be an estate planning attorney.
Michelle’s interest in elder law came a little later in life. During Michelle’s undergraduate studies, Michelle’s grandmother needed nursing care. Grandma lived in a nursing home for the last 6 years of her life, and Michelle not only experienced the emotional hardship it put on their family, but she also watched as Grandma’s assets diminished paying for her care. Thankfully, Grandma aged with dignity and with her family working together to care for and support her. Many obstacles, such as privacy laws, costly court proceedings, and fighting family members could have diverted attention from what was most important – caring for Grandma. Planning for Hawaii’s aging and beloved seniors has become an important part of Michelle’s practice.
What started during her childhood, Michelle’s interest and desire to help clients prepare for incapacity and death, continues in her practice at Estate Planning Group. Michelle believes that no matter how grand or humble the estate, proper planning can make life simpler and preserve your assets for both you and the loved ones you leave behind. At Estate Planning Group, she focuses on Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration, Elder Law, including Medicaid Planning, and Special Needs Planning. Michelle believes that every estate plan should fit the client, and she works closely with her clients in learning about their goals, health, family situation, personalities of their beneficiaries, nature of their assets, and other important factors. From there, Michelle counsels and provides recommendations for her clients using various types of trusts or other estate planning tools that will meet her clients’ goals. Michelle has assisted thousands of Hawai`i residents in these areas and she loves it. As a proud mother and wife, Michelle brings compassion to her work with an understanding of family values and the importance of caring for loved ones.
Michelle attended the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Finance, and earned her Juris Doctor from the William S. Richardson School of Law. Following law school, Michelle served as a law clerk for the Honorable Eden Elizabeth Hifo of the First Circuit Court. Thereafter, Michelle was an associate at the law firm Bays Deaver Lung Rose & Baba, where her practice included real estate litigation, construction litigation, and insurance disputes. Feeling the need to pursue her passion for estate planning, Michelle joined Est8Planning Counsel where she focused on estate planning, trust administration, probate, Medicaid planning, special needs planning, and elder law. Michelle is a member of the Hawaii State Bar Associations and is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in Hawaii. She is also a member of the Probate and Estate Planning Section and the Elder Law Section of the Hawaii State Bar Association.
Outside the office, Michelle enjoys spending time with her husband, Aaron, her big-hearted and outgoing daughter, and her inquisitive and rascal son. During her “mommy time,” Michelle relaxes through jogging, Crossfit and golfing.