Huguette Clark inherited what some estimate to be a $3 billion fortune from her father and now that the reclusive heiress has died and the handling of her fortune is the subject of a criminal investigation, it’s possible that survivors could contest her will.
Clark spent many years away from outsiders and much of the last few decades she lived in hospitals despite owning a 42-room apartment on Fifth Avenue, an oceanfront estate in Santa Barbara, California and a country manor in New Canaan, Connecticut.
It’s possible now that Clark has died survivors could contest her will. While she had no children, half great-nieces and nephews as well as others who descended from her father’s first marriage are still alive as well as descendants of her mother’s siblings. Estate and contested will lawyers have decades of experience handling this type of law. While most don’t want to think about the death of a loved one, it is inevitable and requires planning.
Clark’s odd lifestyle, including an ongoing investigation into her accountant and lawyer, make the story fascinating to the public. MSNBC.com, which did an extensive series into the circumstances of her fortune, reported recently that no funeral service was held and her attorney banned family members from her entombment.
The Times’ obituary points out that last August, the Manhattan district attorney’s office began investigating the handling of her finances, which are managed by an attorney and accountant for more than a decade. Before death, Clark gave the attorney’s granddaughter a $10,000 dollhouse and donated $1.5 million to the attorney’s daughter and family in Israel. The estate’s handlers told the media they have handled her finances as she wished.
The elderly are especially susceptible to estate fraud. That’s why estate litigation in New York can be so important. Disputes regularly crop up after the death of a loved one, especially one who is wealthy. Contesting a will over suspected fraud requires a dedicated team of attorneys. If keeping family issues out of the public eye is an option, that will be our first priority. But while many of these disputes can be handled without court interference, some can’t.
The Law Offices of Ira S. Newman handles estate law and contested wills in New York City, Long Island, Great Neck and throughout the area. Call 516-487-7375 or contact us through the website.