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Julie Garber

Hearing on Artist Thomas Kinkade's Will Dispute Could Be Delayed for a Year

By July 31, 2012

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Last week attorneys for Nanette Kinkade, the estranged wife of artist Thomas Kinkade, filed an appeal of a July 2 ruling that requires the will dispute between Mrs. Kinkade and Amy Pinto-Walsh, the girlfriend of Thomas at the time of his death, to proceed in open probate court. In the July 2 ruling, Santa Clara County Judge Thomas Cain denied the request of Mrs. Kinkade to settle the will dispute in private in front of an arbitration panel. Attorneys for both sides estimate that it could take at least a year for a decision to be made on the appeal.

The will dispute is the result of two handwritten notes allegedly written by Thomas Kinkade in November and December 2011 wherein he left his Monte Sereno, California home and $10 million to Ms. Pinto-Walsh in order to establish the Thomas Kinkade Museum. The notes, copies of which can be viewed at MercuryNews.com (scroll down to the bottom of the page), are, to say the least, barely legible. A hearing was to be held on August 13 to determine the effect that the notes may, or may not, have on the disposition of the artist's estate, but now that decision will have to wait until the appeal is resolved.

Meanwhile, Ms. Pinto-Walsh will continue to reside at the Monte Sereno home for the time being because according to Kinkade estate attorney Daniel L. Casas, "there are legal reasons why the estate can't evict her (Ms. Pinto-Walsh) at this time." Casas also confirmed that title to the property is with the estate and it has a mortgage of about $2 million, of which Thomas and Nanette Kinkade are the co-borrowers. So apparently the estate will have to maintain the property and pay the mortgage until the will dispute is resolved. Another good example of why attempting to write your own will is a bad idea.

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