Michael Stern, the music director designate of the Kansas City Symphony; David Stern, the principal guest conductor of Concerto K‹ln; and Shira Stern, a rabbi, had sought more than $2 million from William Morehead III.
In his ruling, Probate Court Judge Martin Landbrebe said that Morehead had improperly paid himself $313,000 and spent $250,000 on Stern's New York apartment, which from he managed the estate.
The judge also found that Morehead had incorrectly excluded the apartment from the worth of the estate. As a result, some of Stern's possessions, including his instruments, were auctioned off to pay his debts.
"In the ordinary course of any estate this behavior is intolerable," said Mark Schwartz, who represented Stern's children. "Here they were irreplaceable things. They were this man's musical legacy."
Stern was one of the leading violinists of the 20th century and the longtime president of Carnegie Hall. He died in 2001 at age 81.