March 16, 2009

"Oh will there ever be a cat and dogfight when I die. But I don't care"

In the Boston Globe,  on the raging battle over the estate of Vermont illustrator Tasha Tudor by her children.

 Tashatudor

The fall of the House of Tudor

But Tudor's death last June exposed a much less endearing image of the eccentric artist's own family. Three of her four children were cut out of her will almost entirely. The 92-year-old artist left her home, her copyrights and her business - called "Tasha Tudor & Family" - to one son and grandson who still cultivate her brand. The other three children are contesting the will in Marlboro Probate Court, accusing their brother, Seth, of wielding improper influence over their mother to claim an estate worth more than $2 million. Seth, in court papers, has branded the claims as a baseless attack on a valid will.

The dispute over the estate was frustratingly easy to anticipate, said Tudor's youngest child, Efner Tudor Holmes, now 60. She says she warned her mother before they stopped talking to each other in 1996 that an earlier version of the will was dividing the family.

"Some of the last words she said to me were, 'Oh, will there ever be a cat and dogfight when I die. But I don't care. I won't be here to see it,' " Holmes said in an interview in her rustic farmhouse. "It bothered her - but not enough to do anything about it. I think there's a side of my mother that was very cruel. And that's the side of her that I'm wrestling with to this day."

Posted by Jill Fallon at March 16, 2009 9:24 AM | Permalink