Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New York Heiress Dies at 104

Huguette1930_grid-6x2Heiress, Huguette Clark, died Tuesday, May 24, at the age of 104. Clark was the daughter of William Andrews Clark, a business man who had made a fortune in mining. Clark’s estate is believed to be worth around $500 million. Included in the estate is the largest apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York, New York; a mansion built on 23 acres in Santa Barbara, California; and a castle on 52 acres in New Canaan, Connecticut. The New York apartment, alone, is valued at around $100 million.

Clark’s half-nieces and half-nephews  asked a New York Court to appoint a guardian to protect Clark back in September. The family members alleged that Clark’s attorney had exerted undue influence on Clark and had kept Clark’s family from her. The Manhattan district attorney began an investigation, and is looking into how Clark’s finances were handled. Clark’s attorney claims he was only acting as Clark instructed him to.

For the last year of her life, Clark resided in a hospital under numerous false names. In mid-April, doctors moved Clark from her private room at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York to the hospital’s medical intensive care unit. Doctors then moved Clark to a room with hospice care in mid-May. Clark died a few days later, just two weeks shy of her 105th birthday.

See Christina Boyle, Reclusive Manhattan Heiress Heiress Clark, 104, Leaves Behind $500 Million Fortune, NY Daily News, May 25, 2011; Adam Martin, The Fate of Huguette Clark’s Fortune, Yahoo! News, May 24, 2011; Bill Dedman, Huguette Clark, the Reclusive Copper Heiress, Dies at 104, MSNBC, May 24, 2011; Huguette Clark Dead: Reclusive Mining Fortune Heiress Dies At 104, Huffington Post, May 25, 2011; and Rachel Quigley, As She Dies Aged 104, the Extraordinary Tale of Mining Fortune Heiress Huguette Clark... the Reclusive Daughter of America's Second Richest Man Who Was Last Seen 80 Years Ago, Daily Mail, May 25, 2011.

Special thanks to Bruce S. Johnson (Thomas J. and Mary E. Heck and Leo H. Faust Memorial Designated Professor of Law, Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University), David Luber (Attorney at law, Florida Probate Attorney Wills and Estates Law Firm), Joel Dobris Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law), Hani Sarji (Attorney, New York, NY), and Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.


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