We have written about the elusive copper heiress before on this blog, but it seems that MSNBC has uncovered more information about the legal dealings of Huguette Clark. It seems that the media outlet was turned away from two of the caretakers by her estates in Santa Barbara and Connecticut because they were instructed to do so by her attorney Wallace "Wally" Bock.
While it is easy for individuals with large estates to be wary of outside influences, a NY estate attorney can also tell you that undue influence can be exerted by individuals that are close as well. In fact, caretakers who receive a major portion of estates are often challenged with charges of undue influence by family members. However, the beauty of estate planning is that it is up to the person to decide how to distribute their wealth upon death with the help of a New York estate planning lawyer.
While that may be the case, it seems that not too many individuals are allowed into the life of Huguette Clark. In her life, she had only granted access to a caretaker named Delia Healey, Robert Samuels who was an antiques dealer, and a harpist. Even with these individuals, Ms. Clark dealt with them in a very reclusive manner.
She also had a social secretary named Suzanne Pierre who came to visit her often. She would often relay messages back and forth for the heiress to her accountant and attorney. She would help Ms. Clark unload paintings and other items anonymously. She was paid a yearly bonus for her work with Ms. Clark. When MSNBC asked about Ms. Clark's refusal to see outsiders, Ms. Pierre responded: "Huguette didn't trust outsiders, even relatives, because she thought they were just after her money. She didn't trust people."
It is interesting to note that Ms. Clark gifted a prominent painting to Ms. Pierre worth approximately $10 million. Since Ms. Pierre now suffers from Alzheimer's, she does not visit the heiress anymore.
Ms. Clark does not have any direct heirs and she only keeps in touch with her distant relatives by telephone sporadically. MSNBC reports that when these relatives have asked to visit the reclusive heiress, they have been turned away by her attorney Wallace Bock.
André Baeyens, Ms. Clark's great half nephew, said: "The only people she sees are people who are her attorney's people. Now if Madame Pierre is no longer seeing her, then it's finished. There is no one from the outside who is coming to see her."
- Heiress Huguette Clark Abandons Estates For Hospital (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning News Blog)
- Locate A NY Estate Attorney (FindLaw)
- Accusations Of Undue Influence In The Christ Kamberos Estate (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning News Blog)