Henry A. Gildersleeve, Counsel for Mrs. Astor, Denies Rumors of an Appeal to
SEES HIS CLIENT TO-MORROW
$3,000,000 for New Baby Considered Ample, as Proper Investment Would Greatly
Former Justice Henry A. Gildersleeve, counsel for Mrs. Madeleine Force
Astor, will come to New York to-morrow from his Summer home, at Maplewood,
N. H., on business connected with the Astor estate, and he announced there
yesterday that no contest of the Astor will was contemplated.
A guardian for the new Astor baby is to be appointed next week, and there
can be no settlement of the estate until the guardian has been appointed and
has appeared before the Surrogates' Court. Mr. Gildersleeve said yesterday
that the provision of Col. John Jacob Astor's will as to the posthumous
child was absolutely valid and the bequest ample for the child's needs.
Col. John Jacob Astor, who perished on the Titanic, made his will just
before he married Miss Madeleine TaImage Force last fall. It provided for
issue by his second wife, without regard to the sex of such offspring. Col.
Astor directed that in the event that he should be survived by a child or
children other than his son Vincent and his daughter Muriel, each child that
survived him should be the beneficiary of a $3,000,000 trust fund until
The latest John Jacob Astor will, of course, have a much larger share of the
estate when he attains his majority, for by wise management and investment
it is estimated that the trust fund of $3,000,000 will amount to at least
$8,000,000 by the time the boy reaches manhood and takes over the management
of his affairs. The will directs James Roosevelt Roosevelt, brother-in-law
of Col, Astor; Nicholas Biddle, and Douglas Robinson, trustees, to set aside
a part of his realty or personalty for the creation of the $3,000,000 trust
Even should the trustees elect to make up the trust fund entirely of
personalty instead of following the Astor custom of making real estate
investments, the trust fund should amount to more than three times the
original sum set aside in twenty-one years. If made up of New York City real
estate the fund may increase even to $30,000,000 by the end of that time.
The Astor baby is the fourth infant in the eyes of the law to share in the
will of Col. Astor. His mother was a legal infant until June 19, when she
became 21 years of age. Vincent Astor head of the family in this country,
and his sister, are still infants in the eyes of the law. One provision of
the Astor will which occasioned some surprise and speculation as to a
possible attempt to break it was that which gave Mrs. Madeleine Force Astor
$5,000,000 until death or remarriage. Surrogate Cohalan has expressed
himself upon this phase of the will by declaring that a clause forbidding a
young widow to remarry under penalty of losing a fortune might be construed
as against public policy.
Under the probate law an infant may wait until its majority to attack its
father's will as regards personal property, but a distribution of real
property must be attacked immediately. The purpose of this law was made to
make sales of real estate final and prevent the clouding of titles by law
There was same speculation when Col.Astor's will was offered for probate
whether or not the provision as to posthumous issue was effective. The
general opinion of lawyers was that the provision was effective. They
agreed, however, that in the event of the overthrow of the provision the
rest of the will would stand.
There is now no question about the will unsettled, it is said, except
possibly the division of motors, horses, and carriages between the widow and
Vincent Astor, and that will be promptly adjusted.
Related Biographies:John Jacob Astor
Madeleine Talmage Astor