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The late Brooke Astor at home
The late Brooke Astor at home


Apr. 3, 2012

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The long ugly battle over the late Brooke Astor's $200 million fortune finally puttered to an end last week. The society doyenne's 88-year-old son, Anthony Marshall, signed a settlement acknowledging his mother's final wishes to give the majority of her money to charity, instead of to him and his wife. Marshall still faces jail time after his 2009 conviction of grand larceny and fraud for coercing his dementia-ailing mother to amend will documents in ways that benefited him.

The agreement accepts Astor's 2002 will as the valid one, upholding her donation of $20 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which plans to use the funds to "support the institution's curatorial programs and art acquisitions, as Mrs. Astor wished." That's $3 million more than originally promised because it makes up for the Childe Hassam painting, Flags, Fifth Avenue (1918), that Astor promised the museum but has since gone missing.

Meanwhile, $15 million is headed to the New York Public Library and $30 million to form the Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education, as well as somewhat smaller donations earmarked for a dozen other charities.

Forbes estimates that Marshall would have received nearly $70 million under the 2002 will, but because he fought for more -- and lost -- he's got a little less than $3 million to show for it.

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