From time to time we highlight a celebrity estate planning case in an effort to underscore some of the things that you can do right, and some of the things that you can do wrong when you are planning your estate. With this in mind we passed along some news about the disputed estate of the painter Thomas Kinkade in a previous blog post.
A dispute arose between Amy Pinto-Walsh, the woman that Kinkade was in a relationship with at the time of his death, and Nanette Kinkade, the wife of the painter. Nanette had filed for divorce and the couple had been estranged for a couple of years prior to Thomas Kinkade’s death.
However, the couple had a formally executed estate plan in place that had not been altered after the breakup.
That would seem to be the long and short of it, but Pinto-Walsh presented two handwritten wills scrawled out by Thomas Kinkade. They left her a home, an adjoining piece of property, and millions of dollars. The funds were supposed be used to establish a museum that would exhibit the art of the self-proclaimed “Painter of Light.”
Because of the very poorly written, practically illegible nature of the documents it was speculated that Kinkade may have been under the influence when he created them.
At first Nanette Kinkade was not prepared to accept the validity of these holographic wills, and a court battle loomed.
However, at this juncture the latest revelation has been made public.
Pinto-Walsh and Nanette Kinkade have come to a mutually agreeable solution and the matter has been closed. The exact details are being kept confidential.
What do we learn from this? For one thing, you should contact your attorney to update your estate plan when your life situation changes.
For another, you would do well to refrain from attempting to create your own estate planning documents, especially when you are in a questionable state of mind.