The spectacle of the Brooke Astor trial owed much of its public fascination to celebrity and circumstance — a son accused of greedily exploiting his aging mother, a beloved philanthropist who had dedicated much of her life to charity.
Yet the conviction of Mrs. Astor’s son, Anthony D. Marshall, on charges that he stole from her has done little to resolve the uncertain fate of the $180 million estate at the heart of the discord. So even as Mr. Marshall awaits sentencing and a possible appeal, another legal showdown looms.
As the public watched the criminal trial unfold over the last five months, a small army of lawyers, including those for a dozen charities, read the tea leaves for some sense of how they could alter the jockeying over the Astor fortune. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Public Library, the two main beneficiaries of Mrs. Astor’s largess, even sent observers to the trial.
The expected contest — which could be sidestepped by a settlement — is in Westchester County Surrogate’s Court, and centers on whether Mrs. Astor’s assets should be distributed according to her most recent will, from 2002, or an earlier version, which directed more money to charity.
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Despite Verdict, Fate of Astor Fortune is Uncertain
Astor's Son Found Guilty