Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dispute Continues Over Huguette Clark’s Fortune

ClarkThe majority of Huguette Clark’s fortune is set to pass to an art foundation created under a will the heiress created in April 2005. Under the terms of the will, the foundation will receive Clark’s art collection, rare books, musical instruments and her Santa Barbara, California home. The home will house the foundation.

One of the mysteries surrounding Clark’s estate is the amount of money spent on Clark’s behalf during the last 15 years of her life. During her last fifteen years, Clark never once left her hospital room, and yet her attorney and accountant spent $170 million on Clark’s behalf during this time (averaged to about $1 million a month).

Clark’s heirs have challenged the validity of Clark’s will, and if they succeed in their suit, the twenty-one distant family members will inherit Clark’s wealth. According to new court filings by Clark’s family members, Clark had an earlier will that was dated only six weeks prior to the April 2005 will. This earlier will left Clark’s nurse $5 million and split the remainder of the fortune among family members. Both wills are typewritten and signed by Clark. 

See Bill Dedman, A $400 Million Twist: Huguette Clark Signed Two Wills, One to Her Family, MSNBC, Nov. 28, 2011; Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Mysteries Surround the $400 Million Estate of Huguette Clark, Forbes, Nov. 28, 2011.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (WealthCounsel) for bringing this to my attention.


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