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.
Last Friday, the estate of Michael Jackson won a victory when a federal judge ruled that a memorabilia dealer working with Katherine Jackson violated copyrights owned by the estate and cannot use intellectual property of the estate. At issue is material from the movie "This is it," Jackson's song "Destiny," and material from man anniversary release DVD of "Thriller."
In our previous post, we began looking at various strategies and approaches to estate planning that will help reduce the likelihood of a will contest later on down the road. As we noted, will contests typically involve disgruntled family members or close friends who feel they've the testator's will treats them unjustly or inequitably.
Will contests, as many of our readers know, are lawsuits brought in probate court to challenge the validity of a Last Will and Testament. Will contests like the current one over the estate of the famous painter Thomas Kinkade are not completely unavoidable. With good planning and a little foresight, the probability that one's estate will be plagued with a will contest can be reduced, even if not eliminated.
Our readers may have already heard about the death of Thomas Kinkade, the famous "Painter of Light," back in April. At present, a will contest over Kinkade's estate is going on between the woman who was his wife of 30 years and his girlfriend of 18 months. Kinkade and his wife were estranged at the time of his death, she having filed for divorce in 2010.
The public administrator in charge of winding down the estate of the late copper heiress Huguette Clark recently petitioned a New York probate court to order her caretakers to return millions of dollars in gifts. According to the administrator, the recipients took advantage of Clark's feebleness and manipulated her into making those gifts.
Our Alpharetta readers may or may not have heard of New York socialite and philanthropist Brooke Astor. Astor is known for her family ties to old American money and her charitable donations. Astor died in 2007 at the age of 105. Since her death, her estate has been troubled by a dispute over provisions in her estate planning documents under which she left millions to New York charities.
On Monday, the FBI captured a man who has been charged with 14 federal fraud counts connected to a scam in which he allegedly defrauded a number of individuals. Among the victims in the scam were 24 members of the Dominican Sisters of the Rosary of Fatima.
The possibility of a will contest is one thing proper estate planning is supposed to eliminate, or at least greatly reduce. Grounds on which will contests are waged generally focus on accusations that the person who left the will lacked testamentary capacity, was operating under a "insane delusion" at the time the will was established, or that somebody asserted undue influence or fraud upon him or her. Unfortunately, even good planning cannot reduce all possibility of a will contest.
In our previous post we discussed the background events which spurred a longstanding probate battle that was recently resolved by the Georgia Supreme Court. The court ruled that Anne Melican is entitled to proceeds from the sale of a condominium previously owned by the Marietta millionaire car dealer with whom she had a 10-year affair.