Painter of Light's estate battle settled quietly, out of court
In my June 15, 2012 post I discussed the legal brouhaha over the estate of the late Thomas Kinkade, America's "Painter of Light." Kinkade died suddenly in 2012 in California from a mix of Valium and alcohol. He and his wife of 28 years were separated, and he he was living with his girlfriend, Amy Walsh-Pinto; who he had met six months after his separation.When he died, Kinkade had not changed his joint estate plan with his wife. Pinto-Walsh produced two near-illegible notes which she contended were Kinkade's, in which he promised to leave her his multi-million dollar California mansion and an additional $10 million. There was controversy from the start over the authenticity of the notes (a holographic will, which by the way is not valid in Florida); and whether those notes tacitly included about $66 million in artwork as well. Wife and girlfriend had their legal boxing gloves on when I last posted, and it looked like it was going to be a nasty, expensive bout. The California probate court was to render its decision in July of this year.Well, surprise: In a turn of events uncharacteristic of most high-profile estate battles, the San Jose Mercury News reported that Kinkade's widow and girlfriend settled their dispute late last year, out of court, quietly and privately. The two issued this statement:"Putting Mr. Kinkade's message of love, spirituality, and optimism at the forefront, the parties are pleased that they have honored Mr. Kinkade by resolving their differences amicably."It is not known if Pinto is still living in the home, nor what the financial agreement is.Is your estate plan set up to engender harmony among your loved ones, and to prevent estate planning challenges? It doesn't matter if you are wealthy or not. I have seen plenty of disputes over items of sentimental value, as well as far less sums of money. Ambiguity, as in the Kinkade affair, is the antithesis of good estate planning. See an experienced Florida estate planning lawyer who can advise you and ensure that every "t" is crossed and every "i" dotted, and do not delay making changes as changes occur in your finances and family situation. The Florida estate planning attorneys of The Karp Law Firm can help!
Attorney Joseph S. Karp is a
Florida Bar Certified and Nationally Certified Elder Law Attorney focusing on
Elder Law, Probate, Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Special Needs Planning
and Estate Litigation. He is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell. Mr. Karp is the
founder of The Karp Law Firm, a South Florida law firm with offices in Palm
Beach Gardens, Boynton Beach and St. Lucie, Florida. Mr. Karp was named a
2011 SuperLawyer by SuperLawyer Magazine and a member of the 2011
Florida Legal Elite by Florida Trend Magazine. He is admitted to
practice law in New York as well as Florida. Visit Mr. Karp's Florida Elder Law and Estate Planning
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