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The Clark Estate

Paul Wellman

The Clark Estate


Settlement Unlikely in Huguette Clark Case

Fate of Heiress’s S.B. Estate Hangs On Trial


Friday, September 13, 2013
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A settlement to end the squabble over the late heiress Huguette Clark’s will looks highly unlikely, according to New York City reporters. Jury selection for the trial is set to begin on Tuesday, barring the slim chance that the 60 attorneys, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and 19 of Clark’s relatives come to a last-minute compromise.

The debate revolves around the validity of Clark’s second will, which left her 23-acre, $100 million estate on East Cabrillo Boulevard in Santa Barbara to the Bellosguardo Art Foundation, a charity formed to turn the sprawling hilltop estate into a public art museum. Other beneficiaries include Clark’s multimillionaire private nurse, a doctor, a hospital, a goddaughter, her attorney, her accountant, and several other employees. That will specifically states that none of her money should go to her relatives, who are descended from her father’s first marriage, according to NBC News investigative reporter Bill Dedman. Dedman recently co-authored Empty Mansions which tells the in-depth story of the French-born Clark who was the daughter of famous copper-baron-turned-U.S.-politician William A. Clark.

Clark’s 19 distant relatives – most had never met the multimillionaire in her 104 years of life – claim that her second will was wrongly-influenced by those who worked for her. If their attorneys are able to get the judge to throw out this will, a previous will – signed six weeks prior by the childless Clark – would take effect. That will sets aside less money for her private nurse; the rest of her fortune would be divvied up among her relatives by default.

The trial is set to take place in Surrogate’s Court in Manhattan next week and is expected to last several weeks.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

bellosguardo is not worth 300 million, her estate is. that's a pretty big typo...

pablo_ochoa (anonymous profile)
September 13, 2013 at 9:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Noozhawk got it right. Ms. Brugger apparently cribbed from them and didn't understand what she read. Bellosguardo is worth about $100 million.

JayB (anonymous profile)
September 14, 2013 at 7:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This is another reminder that writing wills is an invitation to litigation. Better for us to accept that once we are dead we are out of here and that what happens after that is meaningless to "us." Most people are perfectly protected by state inheritance rules which have been hammered out over centuries to create equitable distributions and which are almost impossible to challenge in court.

RHS (anonymous profile)
September 14, 2013 at 9:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Looks like the lawyers will get it all.

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 14, 2013 at 11:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Are the matters of advanced age and living in isolation, except for legal staff and a few others, totally irrelevant from a legal point of view in this matter? After all, how does one at that age go about the business of such in-depth distribution of such immense wealth that was not covered at a much earlier age?

salsipuedes (anonymous profile)
September 15, 2013 at 4:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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