Mason & Helmers
We Welcome Your Call
  • Phone 651-323-2548
  • Toll Free 877-389-5533

Artist's vision blurry in handwritten will

Art lovers in Minneapolis and St. Paul may be familiar with the nearly ubiquitous works of Thomas Kinkade. His paintings have been widely reproduced and have found their way into the homes of fans nationwide through a franchise of licensed galleries.

Since the artist's death earlier this year, a probate dispute has arisen between Kincade's estranged wife of 30 years and his girlfriend with whom he spent the final years of his life. The ongoing conflict over the artist's will centers on the validity of handwritten notes supposedly prepared by the artist to memorialize gifts to his girlfriend.

In probate court, the girlfriend revealed the handwritten notes, which appear to make gifts of a house and $10 million in cash to the girlfriend, along with an additional bequest of $10 million for the purpose of establishing a memorial museum. In addition to asking the court to recognize the notes as valid testamentary gifts, the girlfriend is seeking appointment as administrator of a $66.3 million portion of the artist's estate.

Kincade's wife, however, asserts that the girlfriend exploited the artist and seeks only to deprive his rightful heirs of their fair shares of inheritance. The wife secured a restraining order against her late husband's companion shortly after the artist's death. The wife is also requesting that estate administration be conducted through secret arbitration.

Minnesota law may recognize separate will documents as legally valid testamentary instruments, but only if certain conditions are met. It remains to be seen whether the artist's home state of California will give his handwritten notes binding effect.

Source: Star Tribune, "Wife, girlfriend take dispute over painter Thomas Kinkade's estate, handwritten will to court," June 12, 2012

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

For Assistance with Estate Disputes & Other Matters, Contact Us

To learn more about the firm and how we can assist you,
contact Mason & Helmers in St. Paul, Minnesota. Call 651-323-2548 or 877-389-5533 (toll free) to set up an appointment.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review
rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories — legal ability and general ethical standards.

Contact Our Attorneys

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response
Mason & Helmers

Mason & Helmers
332 Minnesota Street
Suite W-3070
St. Paul, MN 55101

Toll Free: 877-389-5533
Phone: 651-323-2548
St. Paul Law Office Map