Newport Beach Estate Planning Attorney Notes Settlement in Brooke Astor Case

9:57 pm Asset Protection, Estate Planning, Trust Litigation

brooke astor grave 150x150 Newport Beach Estate Planning Attorney Notes Settlement in Brooke Astor CaseThe New York Times reported earlier today that a settlement has been reached in the battle over the estate of New York philanthropist and society maven Brooke Astor, who died in 2007 at the age of 105.

The settlement defines how Astor’s $100 million fortune will be distributed, and reduces in half the inheritance of her only child, Anthony D. Marshall, who was convicted in 2009 of defrauding and stealing from her in the last years of her life.  He was sentenced to 1-3 years in prison, and is still free on appeal.

According to the Times, the settlement strips Marshall and his wife of all control over the estate and nullifies amendments made to her 2002 will, which were the subject of the case against her son.  Marshall and estate planning attorney Francis X. Morrissey were charged with tricking Mrs. Astor into signing amendments that gave Marshall control over her estate upon her death, and that cut bequests to a number of charities.  Morrissey is also appealing a conviction in the case.

Financial abuse of the elderly is an issue that is all too common in our society, but one that rarely gets much attention. And it isn’t only the very wealthy who fall victim to elder abuse. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse “between 1 and 2 million Americans age 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depended for care or protection.”

Financial abuse of elders in particular goes under-reported in our culture, mainly because it leaves no visible scars to tip off friends and family. It is disheartening to discover that in most cases of financial exploitation of elders, the perpetrator is a family member, often the victim’s own son or daughter.

One way to prevent this from happening is to make your own decisions about who will serve as your physical and financial caretakers by executing a nomination of conservator, health care directive, and durable power of attorney. These three simple documents can allow you to choose the best person to care for you when you are unable to care for yourself.

Let our Costa Mesa law offices help you get started by contacting us today.

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