Copper Heiress Estate to Benefit the Arts

Huguette Clark, heiress to a copper fortune, has left the majority of her estate, worth an estimated $400 million, to establish a foundation that will support the arts, the New York Times reports.

According to the lawyer who filed her will, John D. Dadakis, Clark's estate comprises an art collection that includes pieces by Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, financial investments, property assets, and a large doll collection. The Bellosguardo Foundation will receive Clark's $100 million Santa Barbara mansion and property, most of her art collection, musical instruments, and a rare book collection. Hadassah Peri, a close friend who helped nurse Clark, will receive the doll collection, potentially worth millions of dollars, and 60 percent of various assets worth about $40 million, while Clark's goddaughter, Wanda Styka, will receive 25 percent.

Drafted in 2005, the will also includes a $1 million gift to Beth Israel Medical Center, where Clark lived in her final years; $500,000 to her assistant; and $100,000 to her physician. In addition, the Washington, D.C.-based Corcoran Gallery of Art will receive a 1907 original from Monet's Water Lilies series that had been privately held for more than eighty years.

Clark also left gifts of $500,000 each to her New York lawyer, Wallace Bock, and accountant, Irving H. Kamsler. Bock, who drafted the will despite a rule that generally prohibits lawyers from drafting wills in which they are beneficiaries, was named executor of Clark's estate and a board member of the new foundation, along with Kamsler. Despite claims that Bock and Kamsler may have mishandled Clark's finances, Dadakis, who is representing both men in court, told the Times that Clark left the money and responsibilities to Bock and Kamsler because she was much closer to them than members of her family, who were explicitly not included among the beneficiaries.

"When you understand who Mrs. Clark was, I think you clearly see that this is a lady that was very strong willed," said Dadakis. "This will speaks for that being strong willed, the way she was."

John Eligon. "Recluse Left Bulk of Wealth for Art Charity and to Her Nurse." New York Times 06/22/2011. Maria Di Mento. "Reclusive Heiress Leaves $100-Million Estate to House Her Masterpieces." Chronicle of Philanthropy 06/22/2011.