Brooke Astor’s Son Released From Prison – What Can Estate Planners Learn From This Tragedy?

Brooke Astor's Son, Anthony Marshall, estate planningOn August 23rd The Boston Globe reported a sad footnote to a tragic family story. Brooke Astor’s 89 year old son, Anthony Marshall has grown so frail and weak that he will be paroled for medical reasons after serving 60 days of his 1-3 year sentence.

Marshall and Francis X. Morrissey Jr., an Astor family lawyer, were convicted in 2009 of stealing tens of millions of dollars from Astor. Prosecutors said the two tricked Astor, who was more than 100 years old and had Alzheimer’s disease, into altering her will to give the money to Marshall.

He cannot walk, stand, clean himself or dress himself and has potentially life threatening swallowing issues. One wonders as an estate planning attorney of the many ways the entire tragedy could have been avoided.

Perhaps separate legal representation of mother and son from the beginning, the involvement of a family psychologist, or an independent co-fiduciary at the outset could have made a difference,

Certainly more effective communication and an understanding of the enormity of the tangled issues and the potential damage they created could have mitigated the fracturing of this family.

I do know it is not fair to be a back seat driver and I am thinking not so much of this case but rather what lessons we as estate planning advisors may learn from it.


Source:  Boston Globe Entire Article Here:


Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit,

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