The estate of Herb Stern, the photographer famous for taking the Last Sitting photos of Marilyn Monroe 6 weeks prior to her death, is poised for a will contest. The 83 year old executed a will in 1997 which left half of his estate to his children from his first marriage with the other half establishing a foundation. He subsequently executed a will and a trust in 2010 which left his $10 million estate, save for a few cash bequests to his children, for the benefit of his 44 year old wife, whom he had secretly married in 2009.
1. It is perfectly logical for a man to alter his will to provide for his wife who was not in his life at the time of the will he signed 13 years prior.
2. The new will has a no contest provision stating that anyone contesting the will will forfeit their inheritance. If this clause is coupled with significant bequests to the children it could curtail a will contest by them.
3. Secret marriage? Perhaps Mr. Stern and his wife were channeling Marilyn Monroe film titles. Instead of “We’re Not Married” they decided to “Let’s Make it Legal” because Stern was only “As Young As You Feel” and followed the axiom that “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” Once the facts are revealed, “Something’s Got to Give.” My apologies in advance.