Reclusive Heiress Huguette Clark's Fortune May Be Redistributed Among Family

PHOTO: Copper heiress Huguette Clark
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A tentative deal has reportedly been reached in the court battle over the tremendous fortune of late copper mining heiress Huguette Clark.

The settlement would redistribute more than $30 million of her $300 million estate to her distant relatives, who were mysteriously cut out of her April 2005 will, The Associated Press reported. A will apparently signed just weeks before mandated Clark's estate be left to her 20 great-nieces and great-nephews, which prompted the legal battle over her fortune.

The settlement, brokered by the New York State Attorney General's Office, came to a head less than one week after jury selection began in a civil trial over Clark's will, the New York Times reported.

Under the tentative terms, Clark's family would reap about $34.5 million after taxes. Clark's nurse would have to return $5 million and a doll collection valued at $1.6 million, a person familiar with the case told the AP. In addition, Clark's lawyer, Wallace Bock, would get nothing.

Clark's California estate, Bellosguardo, would become a foundation, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art would take in $10 million, the AP reported.

In order for the tentative settlement to take hold, all the parties in the suit would have to sign off on the proposal to avoid trial, the New York Times repoted. Then, the agreement would need to be approved by a Surrogate's Court judge.

A Tale of Two Wills

Huguette Clark died in May 2011 at the age of 104. Her father, Sen. William A. Clark, was one of the wealthiest Americans of the late 19th and early 20th century, who struck it rich from Montana's mining industry and later founded Las Vegas.

Yet despite owning a 42-room apartment on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue and sprawling estates in California and Connecticut, Clark lived her life out quietly in a hospital room under an assumed name to avoid publicity.

The most recent version of Clark's will was believed to have been signed in April 2005. In the document, Clark bequeathed her fortunes to a doctor, an attorney, an accountant, a nurse, a goddaughter, a hospital and her caretakers.

In the will, Clark left no money to her family. The document states she "intentionally" made no provision "for any members of my family, whether on my paternal or maternal side, having had minimal contacts with them over the years.

"The persons and institution named herein as beneficiaries of my Estate are the true objects of my bounty," the will reads.

Yet a will signed just six weeks before that will left much of her fortune to her family.

Clark's family alleged that hospital executives, her lawyer and her accountant took advantage of the heiress to get at her money, the AP reported.

Those who benefitted from the April 2005 will argued that the document represented Clark's wishes.

"Ms. Clark has explicitly instructed me on many occasions that she does not want visitors and does not want anyone -- including her relatives -- to know where she resides," Clark's attorney, Wallace Bock, wrote in a 2010 filing. "I have not 'controlled' Ms. Clark's affairs; I have managed them in accordance with her wishes," he said.

Jury selection had started Thursday in the civil suit over the validity of her April 2005 will.

Bock did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

ABC News' Bill McGuire and Alyssa Newcomb contributed to this report.

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