The Historical Documents

The Kneubuhl family documents have lived a life of their own, but, much like chameleons, they change depending on what is happening around them and especially who is nearby. The documents have been interpreted in the decisions of the High Court, on occasion, beginning with Judge Miyamoto’s 1982 decision which first declared the trust valid when contested by Mike.  But those decisions were always narrowly drawn, and each, in turn, raised new questions such as:  Who is a beneficiary? When does the trust end? Who owns the land?

They reallocated the family lands at Olo, Taputimu in 1969. They never liked the idea of having a Trustee, so at some point in 1974, Mike began drafting the Land Planning Agreement, appointing themselves their own “Trustees,” which, of course, they could not do. The validity of this hopelessly inconsistent document was either ignored or not accepted by the High Court, and attempts to resurrect it have always failed. Some family members believed they had made new, individual trusts for “their” land which was already in trust, without rescinding or modifying the former.

The undisclosed “Warranty Deed” written for Mike and Frances’ transfers is a good example of a document which affects the rights of all the beneficiaries but which was never disclosed by the author to most of them, and even refers internally to another “modification” document which does not exist, since no trust modification ever occurred.

Last, having no copiers, they often retyped their documents, to the consternation of the courts. All versions are included. It is highly unlikely that anyone has a complete set of all the legal documents prepared by and for the Kneubuhls.