When copper heiress Huguette Clark died last year, she left a $300 million estate, two wills, and many angry relatives.
Perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of Clark's wills were her accountants, attorneys, nurses, and other hospital staff. Her family members were largely left out, reports NBC.
Clark had been a recluse for years and died estranged from her friends and family in a hospital room. So the will leaving them out was not that surprising. However, her family is now waging an estate battle. They want a piece of the very large pie left by Clark. This could get ugly.
Huguette Clark was out of the public eye for many years despite her extreme wealth. It was only in the years leading up to her death, did Clark make headlines. There were accusations that she was being defrauded by her accountant and lawyer (both of whom received significant bequests in Clark's more recent will). There was a criminal investigation, but neither the accountant nor the lawyer was charged with a crime, reports NBC.
This week, an accounting was completed on Clark's estate by the Surrogate's Court in Manhattan. Clark's estate is largely comprised of:
- $84.5 million beachfront summer home in Santa Barbara
- $53.0 million for her three Manhattan apartments overlooking Central Park
- $14.3 million for her 51.7 acre Connecticut country home
- $79.3 million in stocks, bonds, cash and trusts
- $75.4 million in personal property such as Monet paintings and rare doll collection
To get a piece of this property, Clark's family members will have an uphill battle. Because Clark already has a will that specifically excludes them, the family needs to invalidate the will. They can try to argue that Clark was unduly influenced by her attorney and accountant. Or they can argue that the 104-year-old women did not have the mental capacity to sign a new will.
Should the will stand, the biggest beneficiary would be a museum or art foundation that Clark wanted set up at her Santa Barbara property.
- Huguette Clark Estate: More Than $300 Million At Stake In Legal Battle Over Properties (Huffington Post)
- Heiress Huguette Clark: Elder Abuse Victim? (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)
- Huguette Clark's Will: Who Will Get Her Fortune? (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)