Kinkade Estate Battle Continues - New York Estate Planning News

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Kinkade Estate Battle Continues

Thomas Kinkade's estate had another eventful day in probate court, reports KTVU News.

At the center of the dispute are Kinkade's estranged wife, Nanette Kinkade, and his girlfriend, Amy Pinto-Walsh.

The Kinkade family alleges that "Painter of Light" left his family in the dark with his handwritten wills giving his community share of the property to his live-in girlfriend of eighteen months. Last Friday, the family filed documents contesting these holographic (handwritten) wills and submitted Kinkade's original wills and three codicils (amendments to a will), reports The San Jose Mercury News.

Pinto-Walsh is claiming that the painter left her his Monte Sereno mansion and $10 million to set up a museum of his works. Her attorneys raised the point that Kinkade and Pinto-Walsh had traveled the world to get ideas for the museum. Pinto-Walsh's attorneys are also claiming that their client is entitled to $66 million of the artist's estate, which represents his half of his community estate.

The other half of his estate automatically goes to his estranged wife, under California community property laws. As in New York, California law makes it difficult to disinherit a surviving spouse outright. While the two states have different legal schemes addressing the omitted spouse (New York has the elective share rules), the omitted spouse won't always walk away empty handed.

Kinkade's family alleges that the forty-eight year old Pinto-Walsh used her "feminine wiles" to manipulate the painter, says The San Jose Mercury News.

Are "feminine wiles" enough to hold up in a court of law, though? Would such an argument push the theory of undue influence?

With alcohol impairment, a girlfriend of eighteen months, an estranged wife, and over $60 million at stake, this case won't be an easy one to resolve.

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