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
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