The following is a link to an interesting New York Times article dated May 29, 2013, Huguette Clark’s will and estate, and allegations that she was coerced by the hospital where she had been staying for the last 20 years of her lift to donate money and assets to the hospital and to leave the hospital $1 million in her will. Click here for article.
My initial thoughts, based on the information provided by the article. The article does refer to information provided in papers that have been filed with the court, and of course we don’t have those papers which presumably do contain significant information that will be admissible as evidence at the scheduled September trial. Ms. Clark was extremely wealth. Living in a hospital for the last 20 years of her life certainly is unusual. However, the article doesn’t indicate that she lacked capacity to make that decision at least early in her 20-year stay. Ms. Clark had the money to live anywhere that she wanted. Ms. Clark was in bad shape when she first entered the hospital and they treated her back to health. Apparently she felt safe and well-cared for in the hospital.
If Ms. Clark’s family members or friends were concerned about her mental capacity and decision making, or if they were concerned that the hospital was unduly influencing her, the article doesn’t indicate that Ms. Clark was ever conserved by her family members or that there was any attempt to conserve her during the 20 year hospital stay.
Ms. Clark did pay for the cost of her stay at the hospital. The article doesn’t provide information about those costs. The article indicates that Ms. Clark left $1 million to the hospital in her will, that she had donated to the hospital an additional $4 million during the 20 years, and that her estate was worth $300 million on her death. The article also indicates or suggests that the hospital did try to get Ms. Clark to donate additional funds to the hospital. The attorney for the parties who are contesting the will in part stated: “What this is about is not just a will contest, it’s about the accountability of professionals.”
My initial take away based on the information provided in the article (but of course additional information could indicate otherwise): inadequate evidence that Ms. Clark lacked mental capacity, or that she was coerced, and given the amount of her wealth it is arguable that she really wasn’t generous to the hospital but was instead generous to the people and entities who do inherit the majority of her wealth. Given that Ms. Clark had lived at the hospital for 20 years, it would not have surprised me if she had left more to the hospital.
We found this in the Daily Republic (Jess Sullivan reporting), Click Here For Article, a Solano County California court has found that the portion of the privately owned land that the county took for a new road was worth more than twice the county’s $575,000 deposit, and in excess of two times the $474,408 value testified to by the county’s second appraiser. And it is likely that the landowner will be entitled to recover attorneys’ fees and costs pursuant to Cal. Code Civ. Proc. sec. 1250.410. See also Gideon’s Trumpet blog for additional discussion, Click Here For Blog.
I found this article today – discussing that the “system” for financing, i.e., paying for, long-term care is crumbling. Click Here For Article.
I just have to say, that isn’t news. Long-term care is unbelievably expensive. Husbands/fathers, wifes/mothers, and their children have been paying huge costs for long-term care for years. It’s expensive in an outside facility, and at-home care is expensive. And then sometimes there are issues relating to the level or manner of care provided.
I’m not an expert on the financial aspects of the long-term financing programs. But I can hope that at the governmental level we have some legislators who understand it and who have developed a strategy for the long-term sustainability and improvement. But I never hear anything that sounds comforting or impressive.
New daily updated edition of California Trust, Estate & Elder Litigation, a daily paper containing new articles and discussions about California trust, estate, conservatorship and elder litigation, Click Here For Paper.
Vidal Sassoon’s Will Two Months Before Death Disinherits Son?
According to an article on MSN, Click Here For Article, Vidal Sassoon’s will, executed two months before his death, disinherits his son and his son’s issue (children). In California a decedent’s estate is supposed to be distributed to the people in the amounts that the decedent would have intended. Is a will or trust valid and are the terms enforceable? Sometimes and sometimes not. Some of the possible issues include: is there evidence of undue influence; was there a lack of mental capacity to understand the will or trust and its terms; are the terms of the will or trust vague, ambiguous or incomplete; are the terms of the will or trust unnatural to what the decedent would have wanted based on historical evidence; is there evidence of fraud; are the beneficiaries statutorily prohibited from inheriting (such as because of involvement in the drafting or transcription of the will, or caregivers, or for other reasons); was the will or trust properly executed; are there medications or infirmities involved; who has the burden of proof and can it be shifted to another party; and other possible issues and claims. Will and trust disputes are complicated, law and evidence intensive, and very contentious.
Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco and California) – Trust, Estate, Conservatorship & Elder Litigation.