“The case of Hans M. Kanuha and Laurence H. Dorcy shows that it is all too easy to get a hold of an elderly person’s assets here in Hawaii. There needs to be more protection in place that prevents people from conning an elderly person into giving everything away. The legislature has not done enough.”
Rep. Pine introduced HB 1465, relating to powers of attorney, which is still alive in the legislature. HB 1465 requires that anyone seeking power of attorney for an elderly person must have at least two signatures. She believes that someone from an elderly protection agency should be the second signature. This would ensure a double protection should the overseer believe that the elderly person is not mentally fit to make these decisions or if the elderly person is being threatened.
“Having a power of attorney gives you power to take over everything in someone’s life. You have the ability to change someone’s will in your favor, take ownership of their assets and their money or even have the person adopt you. Mr. Dorcy’s case could have been prevented had we put safeguards like this in place,” she said.
Mr. Kanuha was adopted by Mr. Dorcy two months before Mr. Dorcy died. Kanuha could inherit $70 million from Dorcy’s estate. Mr. Kanuha had previously inherited a Kula gasoline station from one elderly woman and a Kula home from another.