Father Leaves Gay Son’s Children Out of Will Unless He Marries Their Birth Mother — Is It Fair?
New York City businessman Frank Mandelbaum, the founder of Intellicheck, an ID verification system, left behind a very specific request for his gay son, Robert, in his will, should he have any children -- marry the mother or the children will be left with nothing.
The elder Mandelbaum was well-aware of the orientation of his son, even knowing his partner, who attended family dinners and vacations.
Mandelbaum expressly stated that any children or offspring that his son might have will not receive the money he had set aside if Robert "not be married to the child's mother within six months of the child’s birth."
The patriarch died in 2007 at the age of 73. His will prompted his son, who is a Manhattan Criminal Court judge, to use his know-how to fight the estate. He argues that his longtime partner, Jonathan O’Donnell, is the only "mother" that their 16-month-old son, Cooper, knows. The will's demand is being deemed discriminatory and against New York law.
Mandelbaum and O'Donnell wed shortly after Cooper was born via surrogate, which they believe fits his father's "decree" and entitles the child to a share of the $180,000 trust that Mandelbaum set aside for the grandchildren.
In court papers, Mandelbaum's widow, Ann Freeman, is against this idea and claimed that Robert "alleged that he had a son from a homosexual relationship which he believed should be a beneficiary...My husband's will specifically prohibited such a child from becoming a beneficiary."