A reclusive copper heiress who spent the past decades living in New York City hospitals has left most of her $400 million fortune to charity–and a nurse who was randomly assigned to care for her 20 years ago.
The New York Post reports that Huguette Clark did not leave a penny to her family members. The lion’s share of her fortune will go to a foundation to promote the arts. She left the biggest chunk of the remaining inheritance–a testament worth about $38 million–to her private nurse, Hadassah Peri. She also left Peri her collection of dolls and dollhouses, which The New York Times says could be worth millions.
Clark, who died last month at 104, divided up the rest of her assets among her accountant, her lawyer, a physician and a goddaughter. Authorities are investigating whether the lawyer, Wallace Bock, and her accountant, Irving Kamsler, inappropriately influenced how Clark handled her money. (According to the Post, Kamsler pleaded guilty in 2008 of attempting to send indecent images to underage girls online.)
For her part, Peri says she will cherish her inheritance in honor of her friendship with Clark–and give a substantial portion of it away, in emulation of Clark’s own will. “I saw Madame Clark virtually every day for the 20 years. I was her private duty nurse but also her close friend. I knew her as a kind and generous person, with whom I shared many wonderful moments and whom I loved very much,” the nurse said in a statement to the Post.
Clark was the daughter of Montana Sen. William Clark, who was once the second-richest man in the country. According to Clark’s will, her nurse spent more time with her than anyone else and became a “friend and loyal companion,” The Post reported. Clark had no children, and specified in her will that she had no interest in leaving money to the “descendants” of her half-siblings or other relatives.
She is also donating a painting in Claude Monet’s famous Water Lillies series to the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. It has not been publicly seen since the 1920s.