The Strange Story of Jack Kerouac's Estate

A mama's boy, a will that's a forgery, and '100 Greek relatives'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2009 1:30 PM CDT
The Strange Story of Jack Kerouac's Estate
The Kerouac House is seen in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008. This house was once the home to beat generation author Jack Kerouac.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)

When Jack Kerouac died, wallowing in alcohol and obscurity, the bank estimated his estate’s value at $1. He left everything to his mother, and when she died, she left it to Kerouac’s third wife, Stella Sampas—or so everyone believed. Recently a Florida court ruled Gabrielle Kerouac's will a forgery. But thanks to an earlier summary judgment, the $20 million estate, which Stella’s family inherited after her death, is staying put.

When Kerouac’s disowned daughter Jan saw the will, she immediately suspected it was a forgery. “It was all weird and scraggly and misspelt,” she told the Telegraph. But Jan died before the case could be resolved, and a judge issued a summary ruling legitimizing the Sampas family’s claim. Only then did Kerouac’s nephew turn up with a letter in which the late author said he didn’t want to leave “a dingblasted f---ing goddamn thing to my wife’s one hundred Greek relatives.” It was too late; the ruling stands.
(More Jack Kerouac stories.)

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