Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, September 7, 2007

Brooke Astor Update

AstorEarlier on this blog, I have discussed various issues regarding Brooke Astor and the disputes with her son and grandson.  On August 13, 2007, Brooke died at her Holly Hill estate in Briarcliff, New York at the age of 105.

Here is some additional information regarding her estate from Lisa W. Foderaro, At Astor Country Home, Will Inheritance Mean Subdivision?, NY Times, Sept. 5, 2007:

[T]he future of the sprawling property Mrs. Astor bought in the mid-1960s, with its 9,000-square-foot stone house, greenhouse and other outbuildings, is uncertain. In the tense legal battle over her will, most expect that Holly Hill will go to her son, Anthony D. Marshall. But whether he will keep it or sell it is anyone’s guess.

In the meantime, a village committee has recommended changing the zoning in the area that includes Holly Hill, to a two-acre from a one-acre zone, potentially halving the number of houses that a builder could propose should the property be sold. That still could mean a storied estate being replaced with a development of perhaps two dozen homes, so the fate of Holly Hill, enveloped by an increasingly suburban landscape, has caught the attention of preservationists in Westchester County. * * *

Holly Hill figured prominently in the bitter dispute over Mrs. Astor’s care that dominated headlines last summer. One of her grandsons, Philip Marshall, accused his father, Mr. Marshall, of neglecting her care while enriching himself with her wealth.

One of the allegations against Mr. Marshall was that he had shut down Holly Hill to save money, thus depriving Mrs. Astor of her beloved home. (Mr. Marshall said he had wanted his mother to be close to her doctors in Manhattan.) But after Mrs. Astor’s close friend Annette de la Renta was appointed her temporary guardian in July 2006, Mrs. Astor was moved to Holly Hill, where she remained until her death.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


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