Hawaiian royalty descendant rejects calls for appointment of a conservator

Updated: Oct. 26, 2019 at 10:50 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian royalty descendant Abigail Kawananakoa was back in court Friday, rejecting claims she can’t handle her own financial affairs and medical needs.

“It’s such a sad situation when someone would bring egregious charges," the 93-year-old heiress said.

Last year, a state judge rejected her request to regain control over her $250 million trust.

Now, she’s battling attempts by her charitable foundation and her trustee James Wright for the appointment of a conservator and a legal guardian,. They say that Kawananakoa needs to be protected.

“She’s unaware of her history of hospitalization, and diagnoses. She’s unaware she’s been treated for any medical condition. She’s unable to recall any medication she takes,” said David Kopper, a lawyer for the Abigail Kawananakoa Foundation.

But her attorney Bruce Voss said her own doctors disagree.

“There is a lack of of precedent evidence of Miss Kawanakoa’s incapacitation,” said Voss. “Zero evidence.”

The legal battle over Kawanakoa’s fortune has already lasted over two years and has cost more than $5 million in legal and other fees. Many worry that continued litigation will drain more of her trust’s assets.

Kawananakoa also potentially faces millions in gift taxes owed to the IRS and a $31 million bank loan is due next year.

“What we’re looking at is a financial abyss that will ultimately result in the evisceration of the trust," said Edmund Saffrey, attorney for Wright.

In the end, the judge rejected the request for a legal guardian but has ordered further hearings on the appointment of a conservator.

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