40 years after jack kerouac died, and 35 years following the death of his mother gabrielle keroauc, a florida judge has ruled that her will was a forgery! the litigation was commenced in 1994, by jan kerouac, jack kerouac's only child (and who jack refused to acknowledge as his child for practically his entire life). sadly, jan kerouac died 2 years later, in 1996. but the will contest was continued by paul blake, jack kerouac's nephew.
when kerouac died in 1969, he left his entire estate to his mother. when she passed away 5 years later, her will purportedly left the entire estate to jack's third wife, stella stampas. jan kerouac was jack's daughter by his second wife, joan haverty (and to whom he was married at the time he wrote "on the road").
last friday, judge greer ruled that gabrielle kerouac would not have been physically able to sign a will on february 13, 1973, and "that which appears on the will dated that date is not her signature." the consequence of this ruling is not immediately clear (and since the decision can be appealed, may not be the final word on the legitimacy of the will).
if the decision is upheld, what happens to kerouac's estate will depend on a variety of issues - not the least of which is whether gabrielle kerouac had executed an earlier will, when she did have capacity, that could subsequently be admitted to probate.
it will be interesting to see how the case now unfolds in the wake of this important decision