Legal battle over Kinkade estate will remain in public

Thomas Kinkade, Nanette Kinkade and Amy Pinto-Walsh
July 2, 2012 1:08:23 PM PDT
The battle over the estate of late South Bay artist Thomas Kinkade will remain public and not behind closed doors according to a Santa Clara County judge's ruling Monday. Kinkade's girlfriend and widow are fighting over millions of dollars. The widow wanted things discussed in private, so the judge's ruling was a small victory for the girlfriend.

Kinkade's will and last intentions weren't even discussed in court Monday, but outside the court, Nanette Kinkade's attorney Dan Casas told ABC7 News what she thinks of the handwritten will that reportedly came from her estranged husband giving property and millions of dollars to his girlfriend. "Everyone seems to have the same reaction when they see those documents," he said. "It's pretty visceral, and that reaction is that either it's not Tom's hand or he was not in a state where? he couldn't understand what he was doing. It's pretty much chicken scratch."

The handwritten will has landed Kinkade's widow in court against Amy Pinto-Walsh, Kinkade's girlfriend, who is fighting for $10 million and Kinkade's home and studio in Monte Sereno, which she says he left for her. The validity of the handwritten note wasn't decided Monday, but the judge did deny the widow's request that the matter be moved to private arbitration. "Well, obviously we're pleased that Judge Cain is going to keep this matter in the probate court," attorney Sonia Agee said."We think this is the right place for it not only for Miss Pinto, but also for the public interest."

Pinto-Walsh cannot comment because of a confidentiality order. Still, she was in court Monday. Nanette Kinkade was not. "There's no requirement that she be here, number one. Number two, she wants to keep things as private as she can for herself, her family, her girls, and that's what Tom wanted," Casas said.

Pinto-Walsh is also concerned that Kinkade's home and studio could be headed for default. The attorney for the Kinkade estate says that is not the case and the judge did not do anything about it. He thinks the property will be fine until everyone returns to court in August. Pinto-Walsh says Kinkade's wish for her was to take the money and build a museum on the property.

The battle is nowhere near over and looks to be a long one which will continue in August.


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