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Astor’s Estate out of Probate

The last Mrs. Astor of New York died in 2007. A five-year dispute over her estate (which will and revisions to probate), ended in the Westchester Country Surrogate court on March 28, 2011. Now, millions of dollars are free to be distributed to charities such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) and the New York Public Library (the NYPL), Carnegie Hall, the Pierpont Morgan Library and Prospect Park of New York.

The details of the settlement were made public by the State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. They included a reduced amount to be given to Astor’s son, Anthony Marshall, who was convicted of elderly abuse and taking advantage of his mother old age to influence the content of her will, appeal pending.

Once the funds are distributed, the Charities Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General will step in to make sure Mrs. Astor’s last wishes will be honored by supervising the charitable organizations that receive her bequest. President of the NYPL, Anthony Marx, Director  and CEO of the Met, Thomas Campbell, and others have complemented the settlement.  According to Schneiderman, the settlement which is mainly based on the 2002 will, the Met and the NYPL may receive as much as 25% of the amount going to charity.

Sources: The NYTimes Obituaries; The Art Daily