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Huguette Clark's California Mansion in Dispute

Huguette Clark's estate is back in the news this week. This time, Californians are stepping into the estate battle.

Huguette Clark had a property out in Santa Barbara, California. The property is named Bellosguardo. According to NBC News, community leaders in that area have started a PR campaign for the preservation of Clark's ocean-front home.

They claim Clark's will called for the home to be preserved as an art institution.

If you’ve been following the estate battle of Huguette Clark, you’d likely know that her estate is facing challenge from her relatives in New York. Her estate is valued at $307 million.

Bellosguardo is the largest asset in Clark’s estate, valued by her executor at $85 million. According to the terms of her will, she wanted the mansion to belong to the Bellosguardo Foundation, an educational foundation created by her will to promote the arts.

A word on foundations: A private foundation is an entity that is exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It’s like a charity, except that a large part of its funding comes from a handful of sources. So in essence, it’s privately funded.

An avid art collector during her life, Clark left her foundation most of her art and fifteen percent of the remainder of her estate, after the payment of other bequests, writes NBC News.

Clark was a copper heiress, inheriting most of her wealth from her father, William Andrews Clark, the founder of Las Vegas. She died at the age of 105 in May 2011. Clark lived much of her life in seclusion and secrecy. And as for her Santa Barbara mansion, Clark and her immediate family haven’t been inside the property for approximately 60 years.

Now, if it goes to the foundation, it might eventually open up for public viewing.

But that’s assuming that her house even goes to the foundation. If the relatives win the will contest, the house could be sold and the proceeds divided up among the heirs.

Clark left behind two wills. One gave part of her estate to family members by way of intestate distribution. The other left nothing to family members.

Her estate battle might go to court by next year.

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