We like to pass along news items involving the estate planning successes and failures of high profile individuals. In keeping with this initiative, we shared the story of the dispute surrounding the estate of the deceased self-described “Painter of Light” Thomas Kinkade some time ago.
As you may recall, Kinkade died in April of 2012 while he was estranged from his wife Nanette. For 18 months he had been in a relationship with Amy Pinto-Walsh.
Before he died, Kinkade left Pinto-Walsh $10 million to start a museum that would contain his work via the creation of a holographic or handwritten will. He also left her the home that the two were residing in along with a neighboring property.
Reportedly the last will may have been constructed when Kinkade was intoxicated because of the very poor quality of the handwriting.
Kinkade had also executed an estate plan with his wife Nanette, and he had never gone to the attorneys to make any changes after the couple became estranged.
The two women involved did not see eye to eye with regard to how to proceed after the passing of the artist. It appeared as though it would be up to the probate court to make a determination.
Now the news has emerged about a settlement between Nanette Kinkade and Amy Pinto-Walsh. When the announcement was made, there was secrecy surrounding the exact details of the agreement.
This case demonstrates why it is important to work with an estate planning attorney when you want to draw up legally binding documents rather than taking pen to paper on your own regardless of the circumstances.
Another lesson to learn from this case is the fact that you should definitely update your existing estate plan if you enter a new relationship and you would like to make provisions for your significant other.