The New York estate feud that dominated headlines for months may finally be nearing an end. Mysterious New York heiress Huguette Clark died in 2011 at the ripe old age of 104. For several decades before her death, Clark lived inside a hospital room–even though she was healthy enough to live elsewhere. Her several mansions remained empty for years. In fact, a documentary film based on Clark’s life and death is currently in creation–several books have already been published.
Because of her unique lifestyle and secretive existence, many were intensely interested in her estate plan–curious as to how her $300 million fortune would be passed on. So began a complex back-and-forth between dozens of different parties who apparently had a stake in the estate–including Clark’s doctor, lawyer, nurse, the hospital where she stayed, her distant relative, named charities, and more.
Clark’s estate planning was relatively bare considering the size of the assets. Essentially two wills were produced. The two wills were both created in 2005. The terms of those two wills could not be more different. The first will gave most of her assets to her distant relatives. The second will cut the family out entirely and instead sprinkled money to her doctor, nurse, lawyer, accountant, and arts-related charities.
It was not long before the different parties at stake were locked in a legal battles. As a substantive matter, the main issues was which of the two wills should be followed. Last week, we explained how negotiations had broken down and the matter was set for trial.
But on the eve of jury selection in the case, the New York Post is reporting that a settlement may have been reached. Per the terms of the possible agreement, a group of 20 relatives will split $34.5 million from that estate. Another major beneficiary would be the new foundation created and set up at Clark’s California estate. The Corcoran Gallery will receive $10 million, the hospital where she lived would get $1 million, and a loyal doctor-friend would receive $100,000.
Interestingly, not everyone involved with walk away with some piece of the estate. For example, her attorney and accountant will not receive anything. In addition, Clark’s nurse will not receive the nearly $7 million she would have per the terms of the second will.
The next step is for the settlement to be put before the judge. So long as he approves it, the matter may finally be settled.