Housekeeper and Staff of Aged Heiress Sued By Public Administrator For $44 Million In “Gifts” In NY

The lawsuit commenced in Manhattan this year concerning the estate of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark , has to be the years most sensational estate case, and thus appropriate for the last blog of the year.

The claim is brought by 19 distant family members concerning her estate which may be worth $400 million.

She married for a short time only and inherited the massive fortune from her late Senator father

She had no children or close family and lived the life of a reclusive- even one of her lawyers for 20 years never met her and spoke to her from behind a closed door.

The suit alleges that the two wills she did within a few months of each other at age 98 are invalid due to dementia and the undue influence of a Phillipino caregiver who was “very close” to the heiress, as her caregiver of 20 years.

The suit also claims back “gifts” totalling $44 million that were supposedly given as follows:

Caregiver- $26 million to her and another $6 million to her family, allowing her to buy 5 houses and drive a Bentley,

Nightmare Nurse- $1.1 million

Two doctors- $3.1 million

Lawyer- $2 million

Hospital- $12 million where she resided the last 20 years of her life in reasonably good health, in spartan conditions, before dying at 104

Accountant $375,000

A friend- $10 million

The decreased wrote all of the cheques herself until her eyes gave out at 102.

She often rebuffed advice not to give such substantial gifts, and incurred a huge tax bill for the gifts

All of the gifts were on top of substantial salaries- the caregiver was paid $131,000 per year, and the hospital $400,000

The lawsuit alleges that these individuals”bled” her estate and that the monies, including lawyer fees since 1997′ should be paid back to her estate

She was totally reclusive and saw no visitors except for “staff” in at least the last 20 years of her life.

The lawsuit alleges she was totally isolated and dependant on the aforesaid staff,especially the caregiver, Ms Peri.

The deceased left two wills, both done at age 98, and both within 6 weeks of the other

The first will left most of the estate to her intestate heirs, the plaintiffs in the court action, and $5 million more to Peri

The second will left out the intestate heirs and left most of the fortune to a museum to administer her art collection, and $31 million more to the housekeeper Peri

It is alleged that both wills are invalid due to lack of capacity and undue influence, and if the Court agrees, then the 19 relatives, all distant, would inherit the fortune

Much of the litigation concerning the two wills will focus on what occurred, if anything, during those 6 weeks to cause such a significant turn of events in the beneficiaries.

Disinherited.com has seen a good deal of litigation concerning caregivers who benefit both during and after the life of the patient, but the Clark litigation takes it to a whole different level!

– See more at: http://www.disinherited.com/blog/housekeeper-and-staff-aged-heiress-sued-public-administrator-44-million-gifts-ny#sthash.B5DFGc2S.dpuf

Trevor Todd

Trevor Todd is one of the province’s most esteemed estate litigation lawyers. He has spent more than 40 years helping the disinherited contest wills and transfers – and win. From his Kerrisdale office, which looks more like an eclectic art gallery than a lawyer’s office, Trevor empowers claimants and restores dignity to families across BC. He is a mentor to young entrepreneurs and an art buff who supports starving artists the world over. He has an eye for talent and a heart for giving back.

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