Things are heating up in the will contest surrounding artist Thomas Kinkade's estate. When the famed "Painter of Light" died back in April due to an accidental overdose of alcohol and Valium, he was in the middle of a divorce from his wife of 30 years, Nanette Kinkade, and living with his girlfriend of 18 months, Amy Pinto. At the center of the will contest are two barely legible, handwritten notes that were allegedly written by Kinkade in November and December 2011 in which the artist leaves his 6,000 square-foot Monte Sereno, California mansion (which contains millions of dollars of artwork done by Kinkade and others) and $10 million to Ms. Pinto in order to establish a Thomas Kinkade museum.
While the validity of the handwritten notes and the ultimate disposition of the artist's multi-million dollar estate are sorted out in Santa Clara County probate court, Ms. Pinto has continued to reside at the Monte Sereno mansion, apparently for free, but not any longer. A few weeks ago the judge presiding over the case, Thomas Cain, ordered Ms. Pinto to pay $11,000 per month in rent, denying her request to set the rent at the lower rate of $8,500 per month due to the "intrusiveness" of the security guards stationed at the property to insure that she doesn't remove anything. Judge Cain also denied Pinto's request that the estate pay for the mansion's pool to be fixed. According to Pinto's attorney, Doug Dal Cielo, his client can afford to pay the rent with her own money. (Well, if she can't, then she'll just have to move out, won't she?)
Meanwhile, court documents filed by Ms. Pinto have alleged that Thomas Kinkade had a hand tremor that could have been caused by alcohol withdrawal and would explain why the handwritten notes are barely legible. The court documents also allege that Kinkade had consulted with "his personal family lawyer" who in fact had advised the painter to hand write the notes. If this is true, then what really, really bad legal advice.
The next hearing on the matter is set for December 3, when Judge Cain will rule on Nanette Kinkade's request to remove furniture, artwork worth millions of dollars and other family possessions from the mansion which were allegedly there before Pinto moved in with the artist.
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