Thomas Kinkade's Estate Battle Moves to Appeals Court

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on July 27, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The fight over deceased artist Thomas Kinkade's multi-million dollar estate will soon make its way up to the California Court of Appeals.

On July 24, attorneys for Thomas Kinkade's estate filed an appeal with California's Sixth District Court of Appeal, reports Patch.

The appeal involves the ongoing dispute over the artist's estate, stemming from two holographic wills Kinkade left behind. Kinkade passed away in April, and left a barely-legible handwritten will, purporting to leave his estate to his mistress of 18 months.

At the time of his death, there was already a family trust in existence, naming Kinkade's estranged wife as co-trustee and executrix of his estate.

On July 2, the Superior Court in Santa Clara denied an ex parte application by Kinkade's estranged wife, Nanette, to compel arbitration in the battle over Kinkade's estate.

On the other side of the issue was Kinkade's mistress of 18 months, Amy Pinto-Walsh. Her attorneys fought to keep the battle public.

Kinkade's family is seeking closed door proceedings, whereas Pinto-Walsh seeks an open probate court hearing on the matter.

At stake is a Monte Sereno home, the adjacent studio, $10 million and artwork estimated at $66 million. The $66 million represents Kinkade's share of the estate, with roughly another $66 million representing Nanette Kinkade's community property share of the estate. The couple separated in 2010 and agreed in their separation papers that the Monte Sereno mansion would be the separate property of Thomas Kinkade, writes the San Jose Mercury.

For the Kinkade family, confidential arbitration is a chance to keep the estate issues private. But for Pinto-Walsh, it's a chance to publicly redeem her reputation, which she claims has been tarnished in the litigation, reports the San Jose Mercury.

With the newly-filed appeal, the proceedings could be delayed even longer. Pinto-Walsh's attorneys have expressed an intention to file a motion to dismiss the appeal.

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