I have previously blogged about the estate of Huguette Clark and the resulting litigation. Her heirs, will beneficiaries, day nurse, attorney, and accountant reached a settlement last September in which the nurse forsook a $30 million bequest and agreed to return $6.7 million of the $31 million she had previously received, the accountant and attorney agreed to waive their rights to the $1 million they were to receive, and the heirs agreed to share $38 million after being left out of the will. Now, the night nurse, who made $131K annually and received gifts of $1 million and was not a party to the settlement is suing the estate for being left out of the will after she was allegedly promised money by Ms. Clark. The estate is suing her to return some of the gifts.
1. On its face, it does seem unfair that the day nurse received gifts of $30 million while the night nurse received $1 million while both worked 12 hour days, but then the night nurse only had limited hours to discuss gifts with Ms. Clark due to Ms. Clark’s sleep needs.
2. Ms. Clark had no obligation to leave her nurse anything in her will. Cases trying to enforce promises to leave a bequest are extremely difficult to win.
3. Even without receiving anything in the will, the nurse made out fine with her six figure salary and seven figure gift for sitting next to a sleeping woman for 20 years.
4. In what looks like the 1% exploiting the 99%, the nurses either received nothing under the will and had to return prior gifts while the attorneys shared fees of $24 million. In actuality, it was the rich exploiting the less rich because her night nurse’s income and assets placed her in the top 4% in the U.S. Sympathies are hard to place in this story.