Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Brooke Astor -- More details revealed

AstorEarlier on this blog, I 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.

A very detailed and comprehensive account of Brooke's situation may be found in John Richardson, The Battle for Mrs. Astor, Vanity Fair, October 2008.

Details of records kept by Brooke's caregivers have now come to light which adds greater "depth" to her situation.

The following excerpts are from Secrets Astor's Butler Heard, NY Post, Nov. 16, 2008:

Secret journals kept by Brooke Russell Astor's staff reveal tragic scenes, including one in which the society doyenne was literally dragged into a meeting against her will to sign over $60 million to her only son after she slammed her cane against the floor shouting, "Do you hear me?"

When they weren't caring for her in person, Astor's maids, nurses and butlers were listening to her private meetings via a baby monitor. They filled 30 journals over four years with what they described as abuse, neglect and manipulation of the Alzheimer's sufferer.

The endless badgering by her son and lawyers led to a deep, paranoid fear of men in business suits. Astor, who died last year at age 105, was constantly in fear for her life. And her only defense was to pretend to be asleep when her son came to visit, they say.

In her new book, "Mrs. Astor Regrets," MERYL GORDON reveals what the staff knew about the alleged neglect and pillaging of Astor's property and bank accounts by her son and his lawyer, Francis X. Morrissey Jr., who are both set to go on trial in January.


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