Now, more than a year after her death at age 96 and the bitter battles over her fortune in the twilight of her life, her estate has been settled. And recently finalized court documents show that after doling out tens of millions to various people — including former housekeepers, other longtime employees and her wife — there will be at least $100 million left to support Native Hawaiian causes.
Legal wrangling over Kawānanakoa’s trust, which now has a value of at least $250 million, began in 2017 after she suffered a stroke. She disputed claims that she was impaired, and married Veronica Gail Worth, her partner of 20 years, who later changed her name to Veronica Gail Kawānanakoa.
According to documents establishing her foundation in 2001, Kawānanakoa wanted it to “maintain, support, preserve and foster the traditional Hawaiian culture in existence prior to 1778" — the year the first European explorer, Capt. James Cook, reached the islands. That includes Hawaiian music, religion, language and art.