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Family, friends of Huguette Clark continue to battle over estate

The ultimate goal of estate planning is so that residents of San Fernando Valley can help to avoid causing any tension amongst those that they care about after they are gone. The potential for discord can be high when it comes to one’s estate, particularly if he or she had a high net worth. Yet such potential often only exists when one has not had open communication with those closest to him or her regarding his or her final wishes. When no one knows who is getting what, the likelihood of people fighting to “get theirs” can be high.

Perhaps no case illustrates this point better than that of Huguette Clark. The former heiress passed away in 2011, and those with interest in her estate have been fighting over it ever since. The source of their contentions has shifted from associates who forcefully took over her affairs and ended her relationship with her family to the hospital where she spent the last 20 years of her life. Clark apparently didn’t help matters by writing multiple copies of her will. However, her surviving relatives cannot really speak to her last wishes as, by their own admission, they rarely had contact with her during her final years.

Yet that hasn’t stopped them from trying to sue the hospital where she spent her final days, alleging that the hospital had stolen money from her over the years through charging for erroneous and unnecessary treatments. A judge, however, recently threw the lawsuit out, citing the expiration of the statute of limitations.

Involving the family and friends who will potentially be the beneficiaries of one’s estate can help make the generational transition of assets much easier. The same may be said by working with an attorney to correctly create any and all estate documents.

Source: Gothamist “Estate of Heiress Huguette Clark Will Not Get $95 Million From Beth Israel, Judge Rules” Emma Whitford, Aug. 24, 2015

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