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March 29, 2012

Tens of Millions of Astor Fortune Goes to Charity in Will Settlement

As much as $100-million of the late socialite Brooke Astor's fortune will benefit culture and education organizations under a settlement that saw her son's inheritance cut by more than half, according to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

The deal ratified Wednesday by a Westchester County, N.Y., court establishes a $30-million education fund and benefits the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Public Library, as well as conservation groups, New York parks, and other cultural institutions. Her son, Anthony D. Marshall, saw his share of the estate reduced from $31-million to $14.5-million in the settlement.

A doyenne of New York society and philanthropy for decades, Ms. Astor died in 2007 at the age of 105, suffering from dementia.

Mr. Marshall was convicted in 2009 of exploiting his mother's mental condition to secure changes in her will, reducing her charity bequests and shifting millions of dollars into his control. He was sentenced to one to three years in prison and is free pending an appeal.