First, the cause of death. Then, the arbitration clause. Now, the mysterious handwritten wills. The unraveling of Thomas Kinkade’s estate has been like a daytime drama, with his wife of 30 years and his girlfriend of 18 months pitched against each other.
The “Painter of Light” apparently kept his family in the dark about two handwritten wills. The wills bequeath girlfriend Amy Pinto-Walsh a Monte Sereno home and $10 million cash “for her security” or to establish a Thomas Kinkade museum.* A hearing will be held in court to determine the validity of these handwritten wills, a.k.a. holographic wills. The following questions will need to be answered by the court, which are applicable to all holographic wills:
- Did he write the wills?
- Did he sign and date them?
- Was he coerced?
- Was he of sound mind?
Purported holographic wills include: a tractor fender, a cigarette carton, a bedroom wall, a napkin, a nurse’s petticoat, and an eggshell. Needless to say, this is not the ideal method of creating a legally secure document. The most troubling part about creating a holographic will without legal guidance is that this type of will is more susceptible to being denied probate.
You should to be able to rely on the document that guides the distribution of your estate. The attorneys at Lonich & Patton have decades of experience handling complex estate planning matters. If you are interested in developing an estate plan or reviewing your current estate plan, contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Lonich & Patton for further information.
Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may detail general legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.
* The second will appears to modify the first will. See copy of “wills” with translations here: http://bit.ly/NbaLty.