Fight over Jack Kevorkian’s estate comes to peaceful end

In life, he was known as “Dr. Death.” By the time of his passing last year at the age of 83, most of the controversies that had once swirled around Jack Kevorkian had subsided.

However, a legal dispute arose over the estate of the former pathologist who gained fame for his advocacy of assisted suicide — a dispute between a museum and Kevorkian’s niece now reportedly settled.

The executor of the estate said the agreement approved in September by a U.S. District Court judge allows the Armenian Library and Museum in Watertown, Massachusetts, to keep four of the 17 paintings Kevorkian had loaned to the facility. The remaining 13 will be returned to the estate and Kevorkian heir, his niece in Troy, Michigan.

The estate and museum had each filed ownership claims involving the works of art.

The paintings — described as “containing disturbing and grotesque images” — have been appraised at more than $2 million. Some of the canvases apparently contain Kevorkian’s own blood.

The estate’s executor said he’s happy to have the dispute resolved. “The settlement recognizes the need for his art to be preserved as part of Armenian culture, while returning artwork to his heir.”

Kevorkian lent the paintings to the museum in 1999, before his sentencing on a second-degree murder conviction for his role in an assisted suicide. He served eight years before being paroled in 2007 on the condition that he never offer suicide instructions to anyone again.

A 2011 New York City auction of Kevorkian paintings was unsuccessful primarily because of the legal cloud hanging over ownership of the artwork. The executor of the estate said he expects the paintings will again be offered for sale now that the cloud has been cleared.

Source: Detroit News, “Deal reached on $2M in Kevorkian artwork,” Oct. 5, 2012

FindLaw Network