Kinkade's Estate Battle to Remain Public - New York Estate Planning News

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Kinkade's Estate Battle to Remain Public

We told you that the Kinkade estate battle wasn’t over yet. Last Friday, Thomas Kinkade’s estranged wife filed papers in court, seeking to keep the court battle private.

On Monday, a California court delivered a small victory to Kinkade’s girlfriend, Amy Pinto-Walsh, saying that the dispute would be public, reports the Associated Press. Well, at least for the time being.

Kinkade’s widow, Nanette Kinkade, filed the court papers last week, asking for confidential arbitration instead of open probate court. Nanette is also the administrator of Thomas Kinkade’s estate.

But the California judge said he had very little information to work with in coming to his decision and as such, opted to keep the dispute in a more traditional probate court forum.

Pinto-Walsh’s attorneys also asked the court to prevent the Kinkade family from selling of assets until the case is resolved. The judge didn’t grant that request, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

While Kinkade’s case is being heard in California Superior Court’s probate division, New York cases are not heard in “Probate Court” but rather, in Surrogate’s Court. The hearing on the authenticity and validity of a will is still called a probate hearing but the venue in New York is a little different from the venue where such cases in California are heard.

There are many issues in the battle over Thomas Kinkade’s estate and the confidentiality clause is only one of those issues. The validity of his handwritten will is one of the larger issues in the dispute.

While we already know that a handwritten will wouldn’t hold up as well in a New York Surrogate’s Court, it’s hard to say whether a confidentiality clause in New York could have the effect of keeping probate proceedings out of the public eye.

For now, the Kinkade dispute is on summer recess until the next hearing in August. We’ll keep you posted as more news develops in the case.

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