»

| Give a Gift |

  • Digital Edition

Signature on Kerouac’s Will Ruled a Forgery

Daily News

Online Only, posted 7.29.09

The fifteen-year battle for control over the estate of Jack Kerouac reached a turning point on Friday when a Florida judge ruled that the signature on his mother’s will is a forgery. Gabrielle Kerouac purportedly left her son’s assets—including letters, notebooks, and unpublished manuscripts—to his third wife, Stella Sampas Kerouac, in 1973. That bequest has been the subject of a long-running dispute between the Sampas family, which still controls the estate, and Kerouac’s surviving blood-relatives.

The court’s decision is a vindication for Jan Kerouac, the Beat writer’s daughter by his second wife, who first challenged the authenticity of the will and launched a lawsuit in 1994. When she died two years later the case was taken up by Kerouac’s nephew, Paul Blake Jr.

According to testimony given during the trial by a doctor and a handwriting expert, Gabrielle Kerouac, who required constant care from 1970 onward and died as a ward of her daughter-in-law, was too debilitated to produce the signature in question. “Clearly, Gabrielle Kerouac was physically unable to sign the document dated February 13, 1973 and, more importantly, that which appears on the will dated that date is not her signature,” Judge George W. Greer wrote in his decision. “The court does not have to decide who in fact signed her name on the document. It is enough that Gabrielle Kerouac did not herself sign it.”

Blake’s attorney, Bill Wagner, told the Associated Press that Friday’s ruling was “a wonderful ending to this story,” but declined to say what his client would do next. When Kerouac died of complications related to alcoholism in October 1969, his estate—which he left to his mother—was valued at ninety-one dollars. More recent estimates put its worth at about twenty million dollars.

Reader Comments

City Guide

by Jen Michalski

Author Jen Michalski takes us on a tour of the many literary sites writers should visit while strolling the gritty streets of Baltimore.

Upcoming Events
Poetry
Reading
Cleveland State University Library
October 24, 2014 (All day)
Poetry
Reading
{9} THE GALLERY -- PHOENIX POETRY SERIES
October 24, 2014 (All day)
Poetry
Reading/Panel/Performance
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
October 24, 2014 - 9:00am
Poetry/Fiction
Reading
Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House
October 24, 2014 - 5:00pm
Poetry/Fiction/Creative Nonfiction
Talk
Split This Rock
October 24, 2014 - 5:30pm
Conferences & Residencies
Residency
West Cork, Ireland
Residency
Riga, Latvia
Conference
Charlotte, North Carolina
Writing Contests
Provincetown OuterMost Community Radio
University of Evansville
American Library Association
Magazine Articles

by Mira Ptacin

November/December 2014

Despite struggles, libraries are learning to navigate the ever-changing, and often cost-prohibitive, landscape of digital lending.

 

by Staff

Politics & Prose replaces Barnes & Noble as official National Book Festival bookseller; new Berryman volume and reissues released; Carlos Lozada named nonfiction book critic at the Washington Post; and other news.

Directory of Writers
Poet
Beverly, MA
Poet
Cincinnati, OH
Poet
New York, NY

Subscribe to P&W Magazine | Donate Now | Advertise | Sign up for E-Newsletter | Help | About Us | Contact Us | View Mobile Site

© Copyright Poets & Writers 2014. All Rights Reserved