Hollywood Considers Feature Film about Copper Heiress and Her Disputed Estate
It is rare for estate litigation or other probate cases to make the news. Other than the people who stand to inherit from an estate, few others are interested in will contests that might be going on at the county probate court.
One case, however, has made headlines a number of times, including a recent report by the Santa Barbara Independent about copper heiress, Huguette Clark. According to the article in the Independent, movie producers have been in talks with the author of a book entitled Empty Mansions, so named because Clark left several mansions empty when she elected to move into a Manhattan hospital in 1991.
When Ms. Clark died in 2011 at the age of 104, she left behind an estate worth about $300 million. The battle began when 19 distant relatives sued to overturn her last will.
Vastly different wills
Evidence indicated Ms. Clark signed two very different wills six weeks apart when she was 98. The first will left most of her wealth to relatives, while the second will left nothing to the relatives, instead giving bequests to arts charities, Ms. Clark's nurse, a goddaughter, the hospital she lived in and others.
The feuding heirs reached an agreement in September as a jury trial loomed. A movie, if one in fact is made, is expected to detail the creation of Ms. Clark's fortune, her life and the circumstances which led to the dispute over the distribution of her estate.
Peterson Law Group helps clients develop a comprehensive estate plan, which can help avoid probate for some assets and minimize grounds for a will contest after you're gone. Our experienced estate planning and probate litigation attorneys can be reached at 979-703-7014, or visit us online at Peterson Law Group.