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Judge orders conservator hearing and mental evaluation for Kawananakoa

                                Abigail Kawananakoa


    Abigail Kawananakoa

A hearing will be scheduled to determine whether a conservator will be appointed to oversee the financial affairs of Abigail Kawananakoa outside of her $215 million trust, a judge ruled today.

First Circuit Court Judge R. Mark Browning also ordered an updated medical evaluation of the Campbell Estate heiress.

At the same time, the judge denied petitions for an independent guardian to attend to the 93-year-old’s personal needs, saying the woman appears to be in good health and there is no evidence that she can’t take care of herself with her spouse’s help.

The hearing for the conservator will be heard “as soon as possible” before another circuit court judge, Browning said, and the medical evaluation will be conducted by Los Angeles psychiatrist David Trader, the same doctor who examined Kawananakoa two years ago and concluded she lacked financial capacity and wasn’t able to make complex decisions.

But Trader did say Kawananakoa has testamentary capacity, or about the same mental acuity needed to make out a will.

In ordering the conservator hearing, Browning said he was following the applicable law. But he urged the parties, who have been in mediation, to come to a compromise.

“It’s the worst thing that could happen that we put Ms. Kawananakoa through this process,” he said.

It’s uncertain how this ruling will affect the estate’s successor trustee, First Hawaiian Bank. The bank had agreed to become Kawananakoa’s trustee, taking over from the heiress’ long-time attorney, James Wright, as long as the court appointed both an independent guardian and an independent conservator.

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