The legal dispute over the $60 million estate of Thomas Kinkade, “Painter of Light,” has reportedly been settled, just in time for Christmas. As our readers may already know, Kinkade died back in April after accidentally overdosing on alcohol and Valium. We wrote about the estate dispute back in July, noting that Kinkade’s estranged wife of 30 years and his girlfriend of 18 months had been engaged in a dispute involving competing wills. The complicated relationship between Kinkade, his wife and his girlfriend made matters even stickier.
Kinkade’s girlfriend had requested the enforcement of two holographic wills she claims Kinkade wrote in late 2011. The first of the handwritten wills, as we’ve noted, was dated November 2011, and left her $10 million from Kinkade’s “corporate policy” as well as his house and some property. The second will, dated December 2011, included these gifts, but also specified that the $10 million is to be used for the purpose of setting up a museum to publicly display his works. Against these wills was a formal will that predates the handwritten ones, and which name his wife as executor.
Another unique element to the case was the suggestion that Kinkade may have been drunk at the time he executed the holographic wills, since they were sloppily written. As we noted previously, sloppy handwriting doesn’t in itself invalidate a handwritten will, but it can open up the issue of whether the person was not of sound mind or under undue influence.
Fortunately for Kinkade’s estate the dispute was settled outside court, saving his family expense and further embarrassment. Unfortunately for the curious, the settlement details are secret.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Legal battle over Thomas Kinkade estate settled,” David Ng, December 24, 2012