There are various different ways to execute a last will, and some are more ironclad than others. With this in mind we would like to take a brief look at the contested estate of the recently deceased painter Thomas Kinkade.
Kinkade was fortunate enough to enjoy a great deal of financial success through the mass marketing of his art work. It seemed to strike a chord with just about everyone on some level. His fortune was estimated at about $66 million at the time of his death and, of course, his work will earn more over time.
Kinkade lived with his girlfriend Amy Pinto-Walsh when he died, though he was still married. His wife Nanette had filed for divorce a couple of years previous to his passing. The problem is…the divorce was not final.
Pinto-Walsh has two holographic or handwritten wills that were apparently penned by Kinkade when he was under the influence of intoxicants according to a handwriting expert. The handwriting was not consistent with someone who had artistic abilities or someone in full control of his faculties.
These handwritten wills leave $10 million and two homes to Pinto-Walsh.
Meanwhile, Nanette and Thomas Kinkade had a formal, professionally prepared estate plan in place, created years before the separation. It had not been altered.
Given the information that is circulating at the present time it would appear as though this case will ultimately be decided by the courts.
One lesson to be learned is this: If your life changes, your plan should change – immediately. And, when the stakes involve who will receive your estate, don’t take matters into your own hands. If your wishes change, your first step should be to sit down and discuss the situation with a licensed and experienced Oklahoma City estate planning lawyer.