As a rather interesting post-script to the earlier accounts of socialite Brooke Astor, an inventory filed by J.P Morgan Chase values her assets at 130.9 million dollars. Today’s New York Times gives the detailed inventory of the wealth of Ms. Astor who will celebrate her 105th birthday this Friday. Last fall, it was reported here that Ms. Astor had become the center of a court battle between her son Anthony Marshall and her grandson with charges of elder abuse and neglect raising the awareness of the need to protect the safety and rights of our oldest members of society –especially those who may not have a nine figure bank account.
An interesting sidebar in the Times report is that an earlier will executed by Ms Astor provided that after the payment of specific bequests, the estate’s residue was to be donated to charity. A new will executed in 2004 (how many of us can expect to make a new will when we are 102?) provides that the residue of estate will be paid to Brooke Astor’s son Anthony (about 60% of that ultimately to be divided between the Internal Revenue Service and New York’s Tax Department , one might surmise). Of course, this will depend upon the outcome of any future battles in the Surrogate’s Court of New York County to determine whether Ms. Astor had the capacity to make the will and whether or not she was the victim of undue influence
I am virtually certain that she will neither hear nor listen to my two words of advice as to how to ultimately avoid this litigation (the last litigation in state Supreme Court left the lawyers about three million dollars better off than before it started): "spend it".