Friday, August 17, 2007

Brooke Astor: And Now, the Will Contest

As noted here, Brooke Astor's guardians expressed doubts about the wills and codicils Brooke Astor appears to have signed in recent years.

Yesterday The New York Times reported that "the court-appointed guardians of Brooke Astor have filed legal papers saying that the will she signed in 1997 should be the valid one. They argue that she was not mentally competent or was unduly influenced when she signed her last will in 2002 and several amendments to it over the following two years."

The 1997 will is said to leave half the residuary estate in a trust to pay Mrs. Astor's son, Anthony Marshall, 5 percent of its market value yearly. The 2002 will as amended by its codicils reportedly leaves Mr. Marshall, age 83, the entire residuary estate outright.

What might happen to the remaining Astor fortune after Mr. Marshall's death is not clear from news reports. If he received the residuary estate outright, he might leave all or part of it to his wife, Charlene, age 61. If the trust called for the earlier will is established, presumably the remainder beneficiaries might include Brooke Astor's only grandchildren, Mr. Marshall's twin sons, now age 54.

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