The Challenge of Millionaire Hugette Clark’s Will
Millionaire railroad heiress Hugette Clark’s relatives are contesting her last will and testament. They are attempting to have the court set aside Ms. Clark’s distributions to a variety of entities, including: a charitable foundation, a hospital, her multimillionaire private-duty registered nurse, a goddaughter, attorney, accountant, doctor and several employees.
The issue is that Ms. Clark signed two wills in 2005, six years before her death in 2011. The first will left the majority of her vast estate to 21 distant relatives. The second will left the entire estate to the above listed individuals and entities. Ms. Clark’s relatives were intentionally left out of the will. The litigation centers on the relatives’ allegations that Ms. Clark did not have the capacity to sign the will and that undue influence was used to induce the signature.
So the story goes from the relatives… The signing was held in a dark hospital room at Beth Israel Hospital under the eye of Clark’s lawyer/beneficiary, Wallace Bock. There was no explanation of the changes in the will given to Ms. Clark. Bock and Irving Kamsler (Clark’s accountant/beneficiary and a convicted sex offender) then met at a local bar to celebrate. A little dramatic but anything is possible when $300 million is at stake.
Here in Florida, the undue influence contest entails the use of either physical or mental force, compelling the testator to sign the will. Typically, there is confidential relationship between the testator and the person having the undue influence over testator. Wallace Bock and Irving Kamsler had a confidential relationship with Ms. Clark through their professional duties as legal counsel and accountant; both were considerable beneficiaries of the second will.
Do the relatives have a case? I look forward to following this through. If you believe that you have an interest in a will that has been illegally executed call an estate planning attorney who can assist you in obtaining your rightful inheritance.
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by Grant Cochrane
Joseph T. Zebrowski, Esq. is a passionate, community-involved professional and company liaison who is leading the development of the estate planning and wealth management division of LaBovick Law Group.