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Battle Over the Estate of Copper Heiress Hugette Clark

Copper heiress Hugette Clark died in 2011 at the age of 104.  A recluse, the last years of her life were spent in the company of her nurse and a handful of others in her employ. Hugette lived far from her several mansions, her hospital residency beginning in 1991.  She was survived by nineteen distant relatives, fourteen of whom she’d never met.  None could recall speaking with her in person since 1957.   The closest of these relatives were half grand nieces and nephews.

Hugette’s Estate is notable for a couple of reasons; first, her estate was valued at over $300 million at her death.  Second, her relatives challenged her will, contending that Hugette was mentally incapacitated and under the influence of several people- namely, her nurse, attorney, and accountant.

The heiress’s last will states, “"I intentionally make no provision ... for any members of my family ... having had minimal contacts with them over the years."  Part of the reason the would-be-heirs have taken issue with the last will is its departure from a will executed a mere six weeks earlier, which left the lion’s share of her estate to family.  Hugette Clark’s relatives, and the world, await the outcome of ongoing proceedings.

We’ve run a few stories about Hugette Clark’s estate over the last year because it’s quite interesting and very sad all at once.  The Clark story is another reminder of the issues that can emerge at death.  True, most of us need not worry about the disposition of a $300 million estate, but end of life issues are not often pleasant for anyone.  There are some situations in which family members pull together, and others which are polarizing.  Our office has a staff with tremendous experience and knowledge in trust administration and probate.  We’re also experienced in dealing with the stresses, emotions, and conflicts that can arise on death.  We are committed to making the estate administration process as seamless as possible.

Andrea ClausContributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Andrea Claus

Morris Hall Can Protect You in Today’s Litigious Society:
We live in a litigious society, where over 1 million lawsuits are filed every year in America alone.  Financial predators are looking for ways to take funds from others and often use litigation as their means to do so.  At Morris Hall we provide your assets and your loved ones with important protections that can prevent financial predators from taking advantage of you.  We do this through proper and current estate planning techniques.  With an MH living trust, we can also protect your property, assets and loved ones from probate, estate taxes, gift taxes, creditors, Medicaid spend-down, conservatorship or guardianship proceedings, ex-spouses and more.  A living trust also keeps your asset and beneficiary information private and secure to avoid giving financial predators information to use against you and your family.  Without a living trust, this information will be made public.  For those living in Arizona, we serve the areas of Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Prescott, Flagstaff, Sedona, Tucson, Sonoita, Arrowhead, Avondale, Goodyear and Tempe.  In New Mexico we serve the areas of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, White Rock, Alamogordo, Truth or Consequences and more.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment with an attorney in your area!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

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