SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Hearings in the dispute between Thomas Kinkade's widow and girlfriend over the late artist's $66 million estate will not be conducted behind closed doors — at least for now, a judge ruled on Monday.
Kinkade's widow, Nanette Kinkade, had sought to keep the matter private, asking Judge Thomas Cain to immediately send the case to an arbitration panel and not open probate court.
But Cain rejected that request, saying he was being asked to make findings based on very limited information, the San Jose Mercury News reported (http://bit.ly/LsDJlW ).
At the center of the dispute are handwritten notes that Thomas Kinkade's girlfriend, Amy Pinto-Walsh, says bequeath her his mansion in Monte Sereno and $10 million to establish a museum of his paintings. She was living with Kinkade and found his body when he died in April.
Nanette Kinkade, Kinkade's wife of 30 years, disputes those claims and is seeking full control of the estate. She and Kinkade were legally separated when Kinkade, 54, died of an accidental alcohol and Valium overdose.
"We're pleased that (the judge) is going to keep this matter in the probate court," Sonia Agee, Pinto-Walsh's attorney, told KGO-TV outside court. "We think it's the right place for it not only for Ms. Pinto, but also for the public interest."
The case was continued until Aug. 13.
Pinto-Walsh was present in court. Nanette Kinkade was not.