Bernstein Leaves Estate to His Three Children


In a remarkably simple 20-page will filed in probate court in Fairfield, Conn., composer-conductor-musician-author Leonard Bernstein directed that his multimillion-dollar estate be held in trust equally for his three children with income from the estate to be distributed quarterly to them or their descendants.

Bernstein made an additional $1-million contribution to the Spring Gate Corp., set up in 1958 to handle Bernstein’s charitable work, for distribution of his personal effects such as music material, manuscripts, scrapbooks and correspondence to such institutions as the Harvard University Library and the Library of Congress.

Executors and trustees charged with administration of the will’s provisions, filed Nov. 6, are three of Bernstein’s longtime friends:

* Schuyler G. Chapin, former dean of Columbia University’s School of the Arts.


* Harry J. Kraut, executive director of Amberson Productions, which handled all business affairs for the late conductor.

* Paul H. Epstein, an attorney.

They are to receive compensation up to 3% of the estate’s value. Each will also receive 1.5% of income from musical and literary property.

Aside from the Bernstein children (Jamie Anne Marie, 38; Alexander Serge Leonard, 35; and Neena Maria Felicia, 28), the only individuals mentioned specifically in the will were Bernstein’s secretary, Helen Coates, now deceased, and his housekeeper, Julie Vega, whom he requested to be employed by the estate.


He also requested that composer Jack Gottlieb, who “provided me with counsel and friendship during my lifetime,” be retained by the estate “in such consultative and like capacities as my executors and trustees may deem appropriate.” Gottlieb has been affiliated with Bernstein since 1958, when he was his assistant.

Distribution of personal effects was left to the Bernstein children in accordance with wishes he had expressed to them privately over the years. His wife, the former Chilean actress Felicia Montealegre, died of lung cancer in 1978.