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Is Hawaiian princess the victim of domestic abuse?

If Hawaii were still a monarchy, its queen would be the 91-year-old descendant of some of Hawaii's most revered native historical figures.

Aside from being a living touchstone to history, the heir of much of the Campbell (of Campbell's soup fame) estate, the owner of a vast personal fortune and a princess, she may also be the victim of domestic violence.

While the princess is in the middle of the dispute, the two prime combatants are her long-time attorney and a long-time companion, who has been with the princess for over 20 years. At stake is not only the princess's right to personal autonomy and the ability to govern her own affairs -- but the future of her fortune.

There are allegations of abuse on both sides of the legal fence. The princess's companion has said that the attorney made a grab for control over the money (which could entitle him to significant compensation for his administration efforts) when the princess suffered a stroke. The attorney alleges that the princess is no longer mentally competent and that her companion is trying to deceive people into believing otherwise. That way, the princess's companion can manipulate the princess's wealth.

While the princess's companion has enjoyed a $700,000 yearly allowance, the attorney alleges that she has frequently asked for more -- and been refused. Now that the princess is unwell, however, he fears that the fortune will be dissipated before the princess dies. That would stop it from ever getting to the people that the princess has long intended to benefit from the money: native Hawaiians.

Part of the lawsuit includes allegations that the princess's companion has been physically abusive. The attorney claims he has photos showing bruises on the elderly princess. He also claims that a letter, supposedly handwritten by the princess after her stroke, is the result of undue influence or coercion.

The attorney has asked the state to appoint a kokua kanawai to look into the issue. Where incompetency is an issue in domestic abuse allegations, the kokua kanawai (a title unique to Hawaiian law) can function as friend of the court to help the judge get a true picture of what is really happening by using broad investigative powers to look into the lives of those involved.

If you believe an elderly relative or friend is being physically, emotionally or financially abused, seek legal help immediately.

Source: www.civilbeat.org, "Will Native Hawaiians Be The Victims In This Fight Over A Royal Fortune?," Nick Grube, Aug. 15, 2017

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