Friday, August 24, 2012
As I have previously blogged about, there is a legal battle surrounding Huguette Clark’s $400 million estate. She may have a sizable estate, but The New York Post suggests that she did not have much cash flow.
Since Clark spent the last two decades of her life in Manhattan hospitals playing with dolls and watching cartoons, it is questionable how much she actually understood about her financial situation. Her advisers seemed to authorize more money to go out than she actually had, and this threatened to deplete her assets. About ten years before her death, her accountant began to urge Clark to sell her assets to pay debt and medical bills. All the while, however, he continued to underreport and underpay Clark’s tax liabilities.
Gift-giving, especially to her private nurse Hadassah Peri, accounted for much of Clark’s money. Within the first year of moving to an apartment, she gave out $375,000 in gifts. Despite her potential mental incapacity, as evidenced by her hospital residence, and her childlike habits, her advisers never checked her mental capacity.
Clark’s distant relatives are now contesting her will, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s and the state Attorney General’s offices are looking into the way her advisers handled her affairs.
See Isabel Vincent and Kathianne Boniello, Reclusive copper Heiress was Cash Poor, Say Relatives In Court Fight Over Will, The New York Post, Aug. 19, 2012.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.