Kinkade's Estate Files For Confidential Arbitration, Not Open Court - New York Estate Planning News

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Kinkade's Estate Files For Confidential Arbitration, Not Open Court

Last week we brought you some info on the latest in the estate battle between painter Thomas Kinkade's mistress and his wife.

Yesterday, attorneys for Kinkade's estranged wife filed documents in California, saying that the validity over two barely legible handwritten wills allegedly belonging to Kinkade should be determined in private arbitration, reports theMercury News.

First off, let's just point out that this is a California case and the laws involving California wills and New York wills are different, particularly as it relates to Holographic wills (i.e. handwritten wills). Nevertheless, New York being a trendy art scene, we couldn't resist bringing this story to the Big Apple.

Kinkade's mistress, Amy Pinto-Walsh, alleges that Kinkade wrote her two wills prior to his death. Under these two wills, she would be entitled to his mansion in Monte Sereno, $10 million in assets and authority over his artwork (valued at over $60 million).

In the latest filings, Kinkade's estate is alleging that the artist executed a confidential arbitration agreement, as a means of protecting his assets and the privacy of his family members.

Pinto-Walsh, on the other hand, is arguing for transparency in the litigation, asking for the fight to be in open court. Part of her motives for transparency appear to be the desire to defend her name, as she has been called a gold-digger by some.

So the question over Kinkade's estate essentially boils down to this: The handwritten wills or the Family Trust documents, which were executed prior to the separation between Nanette and Thomas Kinkade?

Who benefits from Kinkade's estate, his wife of thirty years or his mistress of eighteen months?

If this were a New York case, we'd probably have a clear cut answer, since the holographic wills would not be valid in such a case. But in this California case, the battle unfolds like a sordid soap opera.

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