The validity of artist Thomas Kinkade’s will is at the center of the battle over his estate.
While Kinkade was a resident Californian, his estate battle shows the importance of drafting a valid will and the repercussions for failing to do so.
The famed artist had a multi-million dollar estate and now, the courts may be charged with deciphering his wills, which have been called “barely legible” by the San Jose Mercury News.
The question experts are asking is whether or not Kinkade was the author of the holographic wills in question. The wills leave his girlfriend a mansion and $10 million.
To go back quickly to the word "holographic will," we're talking about a handwritten will.
Other questions surrounding the wills focus on whether or not Kinkade was coerced into writing the wills and whether he was of sound mind when he wrote the wills (assuming that he did, in fact, write the wills).
Amy Pinto-Walsh is the woman at the center of the controversy. According to the Mercury, she had an eighteen-month affair with the painter.
Eighteen months! And let's not forget that Kinkade had an estranged wife. So a mistress can walk away with millions after a mere eighteen month relationship, if the will is proved authentic and valid.
In New York, a testator is required to have a sound mind when drafting a will. But what exactly does it mean to be of "sound mind"? In Kinkade's case, the big issue being argued is that he wrote the will while drunk, but that even drunk, he was still technically of sound mind.
In New York, there's also a requirement that there by two witnesses who sign the will. And as for holographic wills, they are okay in very limited circumstances in New York, usually only in the case of military personnel.
But this being a California will, the laws are a bit different and this will become an issue which may potentially be heard before a judge next month.
- New York Estate Planning Lawyers (FindLaw)
- Estate Planning Basics (FindLaw)
- Cal Supreme Court to Consider Testator Intent in Holographic Will (FindLaw's California Case Law Blog)