ATTORNEY, COUNSELOR OF LAW
Keoni appears in the
Top 100 Attorneys Magazine
In the heart of Honolulu, the Law Office of Keoni Souza stands as a beacon for families aiming to secure their legacies. Founded in 2017 by Native Hawaiian, Keoni Souza, this legal haven is not just another estate planning firm. It represents the synthesis of cultural nuances, business acumen, and legal expertise, all culminating in a service that is intrinsically Hawaiian.
At its core, Keoni's practice revolves around ensuring the future: safeguarding families and estates, orchestrating seamless business successions, and skillfully preventing family disputes. His foray into the legal realm, marked by significant stints in both the private sector and government, has imbued him with a panoramic view of estate planning. This broad perspective, enhanced by his education in law and business, is what empowers Keoni to tackle estate planning from all angles.
What truly distinguishes Keoni's firm from others is its drive to offer more than just traditional financial legacy services. Recognizing the essence of Hawaii, with its rich tapestry of stories, values, and traditions, the firm emphasizes the intangible. It focuses on those ethereal assets — the stories, the experiences, the values — often overlooked in conventional estate planning, yet invaluable to the heartstrings of loved ones.
But Keoni's vision extends beyond just drafting wills or trusts. He's an educator at heart, and his passion manifests in his dedication to community enlightenment. With numerous educational seminars under his belt, he endeavors to bridge the legal information gap, offering the community valuable insights into estate planning's often complex world.
Eschewing the customary estate planning approach centered on the elderly, Keoni pivots towards an underserved demographic — young families, especially those with minor children. This intentional focus emerges from his understanding that estate planning isn't just about the twilight years, but about securing the present and future for those most vulnerable. Through this lens, Keoni and his team have cultivated systems to democratize access to personalized estate planning, once the purview of the ultra-affluent.
The firm's ethos is rooted in its understanding of Hawaii and its residents. They acknowledge that for many, estate planning isn't just about property or money. It's about ensuring that a grandmother's lullaby, a father's life lessons, or a mother's treasured recipes endure. It's about ensuring that while tangible assets provide for material needs, the intangible assets nourish the soul.
Beyond his professional endeavors, Keoni's commitment to community upliftment shines. His firm staunchly backs community organizations, perpetuating positive change. Born and raised in Hawaii, Keoni isn't just practicing law; he's sculpting legacies, ensuring that both tangible and intangible treasures traverse generations in the true spirit of Aloha.
We spoke with Keoni to learn more about his unique take on estate law and how his firm has created a much-needed niche in the legal arena.
Why did you gravitate towards estate law?
While still in law school, I faced an unexpected family crisis: my mother, at 52, suffered a stroke and heart attack, plunging us into the maze of estate planning. We wrestled with soaring facility charges and the gut-wrenching realization that she didn’t get the quality of life she deserved. Navigating this ordeal, I learned firsthand the value of proactive planning. The financial and emotional toll on my family, the costly legal proceedings — all these hardships could have been sidestepped had we had preemptive estate planning. I embraced this field to ensure others don't endure such anguish.
How does your approach to estate planning set you apart?
I don’t treat estate planning as mere business—it's my passion. I champion a heart-centered approach providing my clients with the kind of care, attention, and trust, I would want for my own loved ones. Recognizing life's fluidity, we conduct complimentary regular reviews, ensuring plans stay relevant with evolving personal circumstances and legal regulations, so everyone and everything clients love stay out of court and conflict. My commitment extends beyond paperwork, offering clients genuine peace of mind and confidence in their estate plans.
You also offer a distinctive protection plan for minors. Could you delve into this?
When my mother became incapacitated, my brother was still a high schooler in Hawaii, while I was attending law school in California. The ordeal underscored the vulnerability of minors during such crises. I've instituted a child protection method that prevents minors from landing in unfamiliar environments, like foster care. Traditional protocols see children transferred to the state's care as only parents possess legal rights. I counter this by equipping families with a set of legal tools that endow a chosen, trusted person with the necessary authority to care for the children. This innovation keeps children amidst familiar faces.
Beyond tangible assets, you have a profound commitment to preserving familial and cultural legacies. Could you explain?
Traditional estate planning often overlooks a family's intangible treasures—values, tales, memories. I bridge this gap through interviews, capturing clients on video, enabling families to pass on more than just wealth. This service resonates deeply with me due to a personal loss: a cherished voicemail from my late grandmother that vanished. It was her last remnant, and its loss devastated me. Now, I ensure families have an emotional keepsake alongside their estate plan, providing a holistic legacy.
Lastly, what fuels your passion in this profession?
The profound gratitude expressed by clients propels me forward. Their relief, their conviction that they and their families are safeguarded—it's intensely gratifying. I thrive on bestowing genuine peace of mind, shielding families from legal quagmires, and potential discord. Every thankful client affirms my purpose, reminding me of the profound impact I have on their lives and driving me to persist in my mission.
Attorney, Counselor of Law
Law Offices of Keoni Souza