Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A $400 million twist: Huguette Clark signed two wills, one to her family

Huguette Clark with one of her prized dolls. She reached age 98 without declaring who should receive her copper-mining fortune, and then signed two contradictory wills back to back.

By Bill Dedman
Investigative Reporter, msnbc.com

NEW YORK — There is a new surprise in the mysterious story of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark. It turns out that she signed two wills, the first one benefitting her family, the second one cutting out her family altogether. And she signed them one after another, within six weeks.

Despite years of pleading from attorney after attorney, Clark reached age 98 without directing who should inherit one of America's great fortunes from the Gilded Age, estimated to be at least $400 million. She made no plan for her $100 million oceanfront estate in Santa Barbara, Calif.; her $20 million country house in New Canaan, Conn.; her three apartments on New York's Fifth Avenue, worth up to $100 million; her precious paintings by Renoir and Monet, or her doll collection worth millions.

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