For the past several decades, Huguette Clark, a wealthy copper heiress, had largely been a mystery to the public. She cloistered herself in hospitals in New York, and saw only a small number of visitors. She had no children and no close relatives.
Her fortune was clearly huge—including a 42-room apartment on Fifth Avenue, an oceanfront estate in Santa Barbara, California, and a country manor in New Canaan, Connecticut—but her net worth was not clear.
So when Clark died last month at age 104, it naturally raised questions: How much was there to be inherited, and who would get it?
Some clarity was provided on Wednesday when a John D. Dadakis, a lawyer at the firm Holland & Knight, filed a will in Surrogate’s Court in Manhattan that Clark executed in 2005.
According to the will, Clark’s estate is worth about $400 million and is made up of an art collection with works by Monet, Renoir, John Singer Sargent and William Merritt Chase; her real estate and financial investments; and a vast doll collection, from porcelains to Barbies.
Clark’s nurse and close friend, Philippine-born Hadassah Peri, is the individual who will benefit most, according to the will.
Peri will get Clark’s hundreds of dolls, potentially worth millions of dollars. She will also receive 60 percent of the various assets, worth about $40 million, including investments and much of her real estate holdings, not specifically bequeathed in the will.
The 60-year-old Peri, an immigrant from the Philippines, had been randomly assigned in 1991 by an agency to take care of Clark. Since then, she saw the heiress every day for 20 years.
“I was her private duty nurse, but also her close friend,” Peri, a married mother of three, was quoted as saying through a spokesperson.
“I knew her as a kind and generous person with whom I shared many wonderful moments and whom I love very much,” Peri added. “I am profoundly sad at her passing, awed at the generosity she has shown me and my family.”