Trusts & Estates

Widow, Girlfriend Square Off in Legal Battle Over Estate of Late Artist Thomas Kinkade

The widow and the girlfriend of the late artist Thomas Kinkade will square off in court next week in a nasty probate battle over who should administer his multimillion-dollar estate.

Nanette Kinkade, his estranged wife, and Amy Pinto-Walsh, his live-in girlfriend, are locked in a dispute over the disposition of the late artist’s estimated $60 million-plus fortune, as well as his remains, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Kinkade, 54, died last April at his Silicon Valley-area compound after ingesting too much alcohol and Valium.

At the time of his death, Kinkade was legally separated from his wife of 30 years and was living with Pinto-Walsh, who said the couple had been planning a wedding in Fiji as soon as his divorce was final.

After Kinkade’s death, Pinto came forward with two handwritten wills bequeathing her $10 million and his compound—which includes his house, Ivy Gate, and his studio—in the woodsy Silicon Valley suburb of Monte Sereno along with instructions to establish a museum to house his artwork.

Lawyers for Nanette Kinkade have filed documents contesting those wills, including Kinkade’s original will and three codicils, or amendments, he made to the will through 2007. The documents claim that Pinto-Walsh, 48, used her feminine wiles to take advantage of Kinkade while he was in the throes of alcoholism.

Lawyers for Pinto-Walsh say the handwritten wills show the true wishes of the late artist, who had traveled with Pinto-Walsh to visit other museums to get ideas about how he wanted to design his own. They also contend that the Kinkades had already divided some of their assets when they separated in 2010, giving the artist full ownership of the Monte Sereno home.

A trial over the authenticity of the wills likely won’t start for another six months to a year. Next week’s hearing will center on who has authority to manage the estate—the widow, the girlfriend, or perhaps a neutral third party.

Related coverage:

CBS News: “Battle over estate of Thomas Kinkade”

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