The 34-million dollar nurse

Does a nurse, no matter how devoted and caring, deserve to inherit $34 million from her wealthy patient?

That is the question circling FilAm gatherings and chat rooms especially since the nurse who is the beneficiary of such vast fortune is a Filipino.

But the issue before a Manhattan court is the circumstances behind the amount of money bequeathed by copper heiress Huguette Clark to her lawyer, her accountant and her private nurse, Hadassah Peri, a Filipina married to an Israeli national. Peri stands to inherit $33.7 million from Clark, the reclusive millionaire she took care of for 20 years. The investigation may yet determine if she will ultimately get that money.

The investigation will center on whether Clark was manipulated — or coerced — into signing away her fortune. The probe was prompted by a lawsuit filed November 20 by relatives of Clark seeking to challenge her last will and testament. They are asking the court to look closely into the heiress’ financial dealings and whether the people who attended to her needs during her last few years in a hospital may have taken advantage of her frail condition and eccentricity. The filings are now with the Surrogate’s Court in Manhattan.

Clark, with a $400 million fortune, has no immediate family; the relatives who are contesting her will are mostly nieces, nephews and cousins.

According to published reports, Clark’s assets will go to the following beneficiaries:

$12 million to a goddaughter
$8 million to the Bellosguardo Foundation managed by her attorney and accountant
$1 million to Beth Israel Medical Center where she lived for many years
$500,000 to her assistant
$500,000 to her attorney
$500,000 to her accountant
$100,000 to her physician

A huge amount of $33 million plus her extensive collection of rare French and Japanese dolls will go to her longtime Filipino nurse. Hadassah, a Brooklyn resident, already received from Clark cash to buy four homes worth about $2 million, according to reports.

In a statement issued shortly after Clark’s death, Hadassah said she saw 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.”

Clark’s death in May at the age of 104 had prompted an earlier investigation on her lawyer and accountant who were named beneficiaries and co-executors of her will. But there were red flags: the accountant is a registered sex offender, according to reports, while the lawyer may have made monetary contributions to certain Jewish charities that Clark, a Catholic, was not aware of. The two reportedly created a foundation in Clark’s name and made themselves co-executors.

Nurse Hadassah was not part of that criminal investigation dated May 2011. But with this new lawsuit, a thorough review of the will is likely expected.

Blogger Wllharrington said he is not surprised. “There are very honest nurses out there that show 100% love and caring to their patients more than their own flesh and blood.”

This potentially vicious legal battle is starting to attract media attention because of the possibilities for crime, intrigue and courtroom drama.


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