Monday, January 21, 2013

Holographic Wills are Causing a Headache in the Kinkade Estate

Forbes is reporting on the strange case of the Thomas Kinkade estate.

The ubiquitous artist died in April 2012, leaving behind an estranged wife, girlfriend, and according to the girlfriend, two handwritten (called "holographic") wills. The wills leave extensive gifts to the girlfriend. In California, where the probate has been commenced, the requirement for witnesses is waived if the entire will is handwritten by the testator. In this case, witnesses would have been really handy to let the court know whether Mr. Kinkade had the capacity to execute these wills. A handwriting expert, hired by The Mercury News expressed the opinion that the writer was likely "three sheets to the wind", which casts great doubt whether he had the capacity to execute these documents.

Minnesota, unlike California, does not allow for holographic wills. If Minnesota law governs the execution, it must be witnessed by two people. If you have wishes you want respected at your death, meet with a licensed attorney to ensure it meets the requirements your state has on a will... and don't be three sheet to the wind when you sign it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Creditor's Claim in Jackson Estate

TMZ is reporting that Michael Jackson's personal assistant is filing a creditor's, claim against the Jackson estate, three years after the singer's death.

In Minnesota, under Minnesota Statute 524.3-803, most creditors' claims are barred, meaning that the creditor is out of luck regardless of how good the claim is, up to one year after the death of the debtor and in many cases earlier.

Seemingly a catch under Minnesota Statute 524.3-104 , is that creditors' claim can not be brought until a personal representative is appointed. That leaves a small or, in some cases, non-existent window to bring a claim. So what's a responsible creditor in Minnesota to do? A creditor can petition the court to open the probate 45 days after the death of the debtor and be named or request another party to be named as a personal representative, under Minnesota Statute 524.3-203. This can be a viable option in extreme cases. In any case, hoping to get paid back three years after the death isn't the best idea, in Minnesota or anywhere else.