With one month until trial, settlement negotiations are being held to divide up the $300 million estate of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark. Although her last will and testament stated emphatically that none of her copper fortune should go to her distant relatives, most of whom she never met, the family would receive millions if a deal is struck.
A settlement is not at all certain, and the negotiations have been contentious and complicated, said several of the 60 attorneys involved in the case.
A jury trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 17 in Surrogate's Court in Manhattan, pitting Clark's relatives against the beneficiaries of her will: a charitable foundation, a hospital, Clark's multimillionaire private-duty registered nurse, a goddaughter, attorney, accountant, doctor and several employees.
Huguette (pronounced "oo-GET") Marcelle Clark was the youngest daughter of former U.S. Sen. William Andrews Clark (1839-1925), one of the copper kings of Montana and one of the richest men of the Gilded Age, a railroad builder and founder of Las Vegas.
Born in Paris in 1906, Huguette was a shy painter and doll collector who spent her last 20 years living in simple hospital rooms. She attracted the attention of NBC News in 2009 because her fabulous homes in Connecticut, California and New York sat unoccupied but carefully maintained.
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