Charitable giving in the last
years of the über wealthy tend to come under fire from family members and the
public, oftentimes questioning the donor’s aging mind and capacity to make
sound decisions regarding their finances. Such is the case of the late Huguette
Clark, her immense inheritance, and the hospital that may (or may not) have
influenced her generous donations. Ms. Clark was extremely wealthy, and during
the last twenty years of her life the reclusive copper heiress spent an
absolutely excessive amount of time in the hospital. She had few afflictions
other than, well, loneliness.
After her passing, it did not
take long for questions to arise regarding how the hospital pushed to care for
a not-so-infirm woman for so long and just so happened to be receiving sizable
donations from her all the while. What may be worse is that the allegations may
be true and there are some interesting, perhaps damning, tidbits.
This scenario and the questions
it raises were reported recently in The
New York Times in an article titled “Hospital Caring for an Heiress Pressed Her
to Give Lavishly.” The article chronicles the last lonely years on Ms.
Remember, she was only
all-too-human. If manipulation was afoot, what should be done about it and,
closer to home, how can such manipulation be prevented in our own estates or
those of our already senior loved ones?
But then there is the reverse
side of the coin: what if it was not manipulation at all? Then Ms. Clark’s
wishes and last charitable actions are being drawn through the mud for not
having been fully articulated.
Reference: The New York
Times (May 29, 2013) “Hospital Caring for an Heiress Pressed Her
to Give Lavishly”