Fight over Vt. artist’s estate ends in settlement
November 8, 2010
NEWFANE, Vt. (AP) — After more than two years of finger-pointing and legal maneuvering, a family feud over the $2 million estate of Vermont author and illustrator Tasha Tudor was settled out of court Monday for undisclosed terms, just as a trial was to begin.
The dispute centered on a revised will that gave almost all of Tudor’s estate to son Seth Tudor and his family.
The disagreement was to be the subject of a Probate Court trial in a Vermont courtroom.
But it never got a court airing after lawyers for Seth Tudor and brother Thomas Tudor emerged from about two hours of closed-door talks in the courthouse and told Judge Robert Pu they had settled.
Under the agreement, Thomas Tudor will withdraw his objections to the will, and other terms will remain confidential, the lawyers said.
“The parties have had a public dispute,” Potter Stewart Jr., co-counsel for Thomas Tudor, announced in court. “But they have now come together and they have resolved that dispute to their mutual satisfaction. What was never in dispute by anybody was … their affection for their mother, Tasha Tudor, and their belief in her great works.”
Tudor, 92, died in 2008.
Her original will in 2001 left her copyrights and most of her assets to her sons and Seth’s son, Winslow Tudor. But an amended 2002 version cut out Thomas, save for an antique highboy, because of his “estrangement” from Tudor, and left only $1,000 to each of the sisters.
Thomas Tudor contended in court papers that his brother wielded undue influence over their mother and that there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the changes in the will.
Seth Tudor, who has said there was no evidence he had any role in the preparation of either version, declined comment on the settlement Monday. Asked if the parties had reconciled, his lawyer, Richard Coutant, said: “Yes. I would say that that’s a fair statement.”
Thomas Tudor, 65, of Fairfax, Va., would not divulge the terms or say what broke the deadlock. He said he was grateful a settlement was reached. “I think it’s a win-win for everybody,” he said.
Tasha Tudor, who lived in Marlboro, earned a devoted following through the watercolors and drawings she created for “Pumpkin Moonshine,” ”Corgiville Fair,” and dozens of other books.