Huguette Clark, the eccentric and reclusive copper mining heiress who died in May 2011 at the age of 104, signed what is purported to be her Last Will and Testament on April 19, 2005, shortly after signing a will on March 7, 2005, which left her estate to different beneficiaries with the exception of one.
Ms. Clark, who was married briefly at the age of 22 but never remarried or had any children, is estimated to have been worth about $400 million at the time of her death. She was survived by 21 intestate heirs (13 half- grandnieces and half-grandnephews and 8 half-great-grandnieces and half-great-grandnephews), who were the main beneficiaries of the March 2005 will but are completely left out of the April 2005 will.
Read on to find out what Ms. Clark's short, 9-page April 2005 will, which is purported to be her final will, says.
Summary of the Contents of the April 2005 Will of Huguette M. Clark
- All prior wills and codicils are revoked - note that this is standard language in any properly drafted will. Apparently the last time Ms. Clark signed a will before 2005 was way back in 1929 in which she left everything to her mother. Her mother died in 1963, so under that will everything would have passed to the 21 intestate heirs had she failed to make a new will.
- Ms. Clark exercises powers of appointment granted to her under the terms of a trust created in 1926 and another created in 1927 such that any property remaining in the trusts will pass under the terms of her will instead of under the terms of the trust agreements.
- Ms. Clark directs that a private foundation be created called the "Bellosguardo Foundation" (named after her 24 acre estate, Bellosguardo, located in Santa Barbara, CA) "for the primary purpose of fostering and promoting the Arts." The foundation is to receive the 21,000 square foot Bellosguardo mansion and all of its contents; all works of art (including works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, John Singer Sargent and William Merritt Chase, but excluding a work by Claude Monet as noted below); all musical instruments (including a Stradivarius violin); photography collection; and all of her books (including a first edition of "Paradise Lost").
- The sum of $100,000 is left to Dr. Henry Simpson, her "physician and friend."
- The sum of $500,000 is left to Christopher Sattler, her "assistant and friend."
- An amount equal to two years of his gross salary is left to John Douglas, the "Manager" of Bellosguardo.
- An amount equal to one year of his gross salary is left to Anthony Ruggiero, the "Caretaker" of Ms. Clark's 52 acre, 22 room estate named Le Beau Chapeau located in New Canaan, CT.
- The sum of $25,000 is left to Martin Gonzalez, the "maintainer" of Ms. Clark's 42 room apartment located at 907 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY (it is thought to be the largest apartment located in New York City and is estimated to be worth $40 million).
- The sum of $500,000 is left to Wallace Bock, her "attorney and friend." More on him below.
- The sum of $500,000 is left to Irving H. Kamsler, her "accountant and friend." More on him below.
- The sum of $1 million is left to Beth Israel Hospital in New York City. This is where Ms. Clark spent the last years of her life.
- Ms. Clark's doll collection, including dollhouses and doll clothing, is left to Hadassah Peri, her "nurse, friend and loyal companion." More on her below.
- Ms. Clark's Claude Monet painting known as "Water Lillies" is left to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The painting is estimated to be worth $20 million and has not been seen publicly since the 1920's.
- The balance of her estate, which includes the New York City apartment and Le Beau Chapeau estate in Connecticut, is to be distributed as follows:
- 60% is to go to Hadassah Peri, the "nurse, friend and loyal companion" who is also to receive the doll collection as mentioned above. It is speculated that after taxes and expenses this will amount to about $40 million for Ms. Peri.
- 25% is to go to Ms. Clark's goddaughter, Wanda Styka. It is speculated that after taxes and expenses this will amount to $14 million for Ms. Styka.
- The balance is to go to Bellosguardo Foundation. It is speculated that after taxes and expenses this will amount to about $275 million for the foundation.
More on Wallace Bock and Irving Kamsler
In 2010, at the request of some of Ms. Clark's relatives, Mr. Bock and Mr. Kamsler were investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office for the mishandling of Ms. Clark's financial matters. While no criminal charges have been filed, that investigation still continues today.
Aside from this, Mr. Kamsler was convicted of attempted dissemination of indecent materials to minors, a felony. Nonetheless, he received a "Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities" in 2009 and is still licensed to practice as a CPA in the State of New York. According to an affidavit filed by Mr. Kamsler in the probate proceeding, he disclosed his conviction to Ms. Clark in writing by a letter dated February 20, 2009, and she acknowledged receipt of the letter on March 5, 2009.
Intestate Heirs Are Seeking to Challenge the April 2005 Will
After receiving a copy of the March 2005 will, the 21 intestate heirs are in the beginning stages of challenging the validity of the April 2005 will in which they are left nothing. If you view the copy of the March 2005 will in the link provided below, you will see that someone scrawled across the first page the word "REVOKED" and also drew a line across the page.
Read a copy of the March 2005 will: Last Will & Testament of Huguette Clark, signed on March 7, 2005
Read a summary of the contents of the March 2005 will: What Does Huguette Clark's March 2005 Will Say?
Read a copy of the April 2005 will and other probate filings, including the affidavit signed by Irving Kamsler: Last Will & Testament of Huguette M. Clark, signed on April 19, 2005.
The information contained in this article is derived from the following: