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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

Highly detailed estate planning protects an artist's legacy

As previously noted on this blog, Michael Jackson's estate is one example of excellent estate administration that continues to manage the estate's assets and preserve the musician's legacy after his death. The Kinkade Family Trust has already proven essential in protecting the legacy of Thomas Kinkade and his estate's future earnings after the artist's sudden death on April 6 at his Northern California home.

Following Kinkade's death, his wife, Kinkade's business holdings and trust representatives filed a request for a restraining order to prevent his girlfriend from releasing confidential personal information about his alleged alcoholism and other issues that would harm Mr. Kinkade's reputation. Such damage to his public image would almost surely have a negative impact on the long-term financial well being of his estate.

In requesting the restraining order, representatives of the trust and others alleged that the girlfriend had broken a confidentiality agreement by suggesting she would reveal confidential information about how Kinkade created his paintings, including specific painting techniques and computer programs. She had first gained access to this information when Kinkade employed her as a personal assistant. A Kinkade attorney argued that releasing these trade secrets to the public would cause "irreparable harm" to Kinkade's businesses.

The court has granted the restraining order against the girlfriend, but sources indicate that the parties are attempting to come to a resolution without having to use it.

When a successful artist or musician dies, careful estate planning can ensure that the person's reputation and substantial estate are protected. Asset protection is one aspect of estate planning, but it can also include a well-designed trust. Trustees can help defend a reputation, protect a life's work and provide a plan for future asset growth.

Source: ABC News, "Thomas Kinkade's Death Sparks Feud Over Family, Art Secrets," Colleen Curry, April 30, 2012.

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My Sacramento law practice, Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law, focuses on wills, trusts and estate planning law in addition to business law and corporate defense services. My clients include professionals, government employees, small businesses, blue-collar workers and national corporations.

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