Jun 22, 2011 4:41 PM by Bethany Tucker, KSBY News

Huguette Clark's last will is filed; huge Santa Barbara estate to be turned into museum

It turns out the reclusive heiress who owned a huge estate in Santa Barbara had a big love for the arts, and plans on sharing that love with the public even after her death.

Huguette Clark passed away in mid-May. She was 104-years-old.

Her attorneys from the firm of Holland & Knight tell KSBY News they have filed the last Will & Testament. Clark's estate is estimated to be worth $400 million.

Clark's lawyers say she left instructions for the creation of a foundation to be named the Bellosguardo Foundation. It is named after her 24-acre oceanfront estate in Santa Barbara. In her will, Clark instructed that the foundation be "for the purpose of fostering and promoting the arts."

The will also calls for the conversion of the huge south coast estate into a permanent museum to house Clark's collection of original art pieces, books and musical instruments.

"It is in this beautiful seaside setting, with its formal gardens and grand galleries displaying magnificent artwork not seen for many decades, that Mrs. Clark's passion and inner being will come to life," said James Hurley in a press release. Hurley's Santa Barbara law firm handled the California affairs of Clark and her mother Anna for the past 80 years. The Santa Barbara estate is valued at $100 million.

Also in her will, Clark said that she intentionally gave no provisions for any members of her family. Following her divorce in 1930, Clark began to disappear from the public spotlight and lost connection with her family. Among other bequests in her will, Clark left $1 million to the hospital in New York in which she had lived since the early 1990s. She also left some money for certain caregivers she said had helped her in her final years.

She also left some art masterpieces to specific museums. For example, she bequest an original piece of Monet's "Waterlilies" collection to the Corcoran Gallery in Washington.

Any balance of Clark's estate will go to her longtime private duty nurse Hadassah Peri, and her goddaughter Wanda Styka. Styka's father was an artist who was long-associated with the Clark family.

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