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Attorney general opposes Hawaiian princess’ trust amendment

January 3, 2019
FILE - In the Sept. 10, 2018, file photo, Abigail Kawananakoa, right, and her wife, Veronica Gail Worth, appear in state court in Honolulu. The Hawaii Attorney General is opposing a change that Kawananakoa, the 92-year-old Native Hawaiian princess, has made to her trust to ensure her wife receives $40 million and all her personal property. (AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, file)

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii attorney general opposed a change that a 92-year-old Native Hawaiian princess has made to her trust to ensure her wife receives $40 million and all her personal property.

Attorney General Russell Suzuki argued in a court filing last week that Abigail Kawananakoa’s amendment to her trust is too complex and invalid based on a prior court ruling, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

Judge Robert Browning ruled in September that Kawananakoa lacks the mental capacity to manage her $215 million trust after she suffered a stroke in 2017. The judge appointed First Hawaiian Bank to serve as trustee and removed Jim Wright, her longtime attorney who stepped in as trustee following her stroke.

Kawananakoa said she’s fine, fired Wright and then married Veronica Gail Worth, her girlfriend of 20 years.

Kawananakoa’s attorney, Michael Lilly, declined to comment. Neither Worth nor her attorney could be immediately reached for comment Thursday.

Kawananakoa is considered a princess because she is a descendant of the family that ruled the islands before the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom in 1893. She inherited her wealth by being the great-granddaughter of James Campbell, an Irish businessman who made his fortune as a sugar plantation owner and one of Hawaii’s largest landowners.

Kawananakoa also wants to create a foundation to benefit Hawaiians and exclude board members appointed by Wright. She has already set up a foundation to benefit Native Hawaiian causes.

“I will not contribute any further assets to that foundation because I do not want those individuals having anything to do with my trust, my estate, and any charitable gifts I make during my lifetime or at my passing,” she said in the amended trust.

The current foundation is asking a judge to appoint a guardian for Kawananakoa.

In his filing, Suzuki said the proposed changes will substantially alter the estate plan Kawananakoa executed before her mental capacity came into question. The state represents the public interest in the protection of the trust’s charitable assets, he said.

A court hearing on the trust amendment is scheduled for Feb. 21.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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