Though she died in 2007 at the age of 105, Brooke Astor’s estimated $100 million estate has been fought over in a New York State probate court ever since then. Much of the conflict involves whether her son, Anthony D. Marshall, would manage the charitable donations Ms. Astor had directed in her Last Will and Testament. However, since Mr. Marshall, age 87, has been convicted of defrauding his mother while she was still alive, the case has become much more complicated and has been in the headlines even before her death.
The settlement reached in court will grant Mr. Marshall approximately half of the $31 million inheritance he would have originally received. The rest of the estate funds will be used in establishing a Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education, as well as be distributed to other charitable organizations in New York.
The Office of the New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman reached the settlement with all the parties involved in late March. Mr. Marshall is still awaiting the outcome of an appeal he filed for his criminal conviction. If he loses the appeal he will be sentenced to one to three years in prison. However, regardless of the outcome of the appeal, the probate settlement is binding and it will not be changed.
Before her death, Ms. Astor had dementia and had made several amendments to her Will that would have granted her son much more control over her estate, as well as reducing the amount she gave to charities. Mr. Marshall and an attorney were convicted of tricking her into signing the amendments. The settlement is based on the original Will terms and not the changes made after she was tricked.