Not much more to report on this ongoing estate saga with a planned giving twist except that their dreams of retiring to Belize just went up in smoke.
See MSNBC’s latest update: Judge Tosses Atty and Accountant http://openchannel.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/23/9659274-judge-bounces-attorney-and-accountant-from-estate-of-heiress-huguette-clark
That has to hurt – $8 mil. hit on both. But it is becoming more and more apparent that the Attorney and Accountant for Ms. Clark may have been lulled into some sort of sense of entitlement. Like they had a right to that money. Seems like this happens all too often.
The most intriguing question will be about the validity of the wills. Long lost family would be happy with both wills failing – and they get a $400 million windfall (and charities get zilch). Can a will stand up in spite of her advisors’ incompetence/possible fraud? Yes they were either incompetent or fraudsters – depending on how you look at the case. But, if they executed the will with proper formalities, and she had mental capacity, and there was no undue influence (just because the advisors were jerks doesn’t automatically mean they unduly influenced their client), and there was no fraud (as it relates to the will) – then why shouldn’t the court uphold the final will (minus attorney and accountant)?
I am not sure of my line of reasoning. It will be interesting to see how the court handles the matter – will the court balance her known charitable interests even in the face of a potentially defective will (certainly defective advisors – as we have seen this case is unfolding)?