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July 2012

Michael Jackson's Siblings Promise New Fight Over His Estate

Michael Jackson's estate faced a tumultuous beginning three years ago after he unexpectedly died.  First his mother, Katherine, and then his father, Joe, filed challenges against the executors of his Estate, John Branca and John McClain.   Katherine backed off her attack and Joe's case was thrown out of court.   300px-Michael_Jackson_Cannescropped3

Since then, the Estate has been relatively peaceful, at least on the surface.  Branca and McClain have led the Estate from a debt-ridden start to enormous profits.  They began around $500 million in the red when the King of Pop died.  Three years later, the Estate reported $475 million in profits.

Of course, Branca and McClain have enjoyed a huge financial windfall from this as well.  They have a special arrangement, blessed by the probate judge who oversees the estate, allowing them to earn 10% from most deals they cut for the Estate.  Branca and McClain are now facing a new attack over their handling of the Estate.

Several of Michael's brothers and sisters -- including Janet, Randy, Tito and Jermaine -- signed a letter that they sent to Branca and McClain accusing the pair of fraud, forgery, exploitation and abuse.  The letter was published on a celebrity gossip website recently.

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Did Artist Thomas Kinkade Change His Will While Drunk?

It’s estimated that one in twenty American homes have a Thomas Kinkade painting hanging on the walls.  The self-named “Painter of Light” turned his gift of rendering landscapes and other words of art into a tremendous commercial endeavor.  In fact, his numerous corporate holdings reportedly topped $100 million in annual sales some years, primarily due to mass reproduction of his works.   Thomas Kinkade

But the Painter of Light was not without his demons, primarily alcoholism and a failed marriage.  He died suddenly at age 54 caused by “acute intoxication” from  alcohol and Valium, on April 6, 2012.  His wife, Nanette, had filed for divorce two years before, and the couple was legally separated.  Kinkade died while living with his girlfriend of 18 months, Amy Pinto-Walsh.

The girlfriend and estranged wife began fighting almost immediately after Kinkade passed.  Pinto-Walsh was kept from the funeral and slapped with a lawsuit for breach of a confidentiality agreement.  The family wanted her to remain quiet and not share any personal details with the media.

Pinto-Walsh did not rest on her laurels.  She went to probate court to enforce two handwritten wills (called “holographic” wills) that she says Kinkade wrote for her benefit in late 2011.

These two handwritten wills are interesting, to say the least.  The first one, dated November 11, 2011, bequeaths to Pinto-Walsh the sum of $10 million dollars “from my corporate policy” and his house and property next door “for her security.”

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