“Basically, we saved my grandmother, and that was the goal,” explains Philip Marshall, grandson of eminent philanthropist Brooke Astor. Nearly eight years ago, the writer and socialite passed away at age 105; now, the remains of her estate continue to bifurcate the relationship between her late son Anthony and his adult children Philip and Alex while Anthony’s will, filed on June 9, 2015 in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court, is scrutinized under the public eye. Anthony was explicit in his intention to disinherit his twins, purportedly declaring in his will: “I have made no provisions here under for my sons…nor for their children.”
A ‘Not-So-Good’ Son
The unconscionable tale of duplicity began in 2006 when Philip first noticed a dip in his grandmother’s public appearances and concomitantly a rise in his father’s involvement with Brooke’s estate. According to Philip, Anthony gradually began to extricate from Brooke integral parts of her life, including her chef, Alzheimer’s medication and doctor appointments. Consequently his grandmother was left practically helpless in her Park Avenue squalor, where she was reported to have remained solitary for days on end or alone with her deceitful son.
On catching sight of their father’s conspicuously heinous behavior, however, Philip and Alex soon outed Anthony to the appropriate authorities. He was later sentenced to three years in prison on the charge of elderly abuse, but was released after three months due to severe health complications. In November 2014, he passed away following a long battle with Parkinson’s.
As of now, the delineations of his will are sparking quite the stir concerning the beneficiaries of his swindled finances. Brooke’s two grandsons will in fact inherit nothing from their father, as he bequeathed his remaining funds to his wife Charlene and his three stepchildren. The widow has been allocated Anthony’s $14.5 million inheritance from his mother, in addition to a trust fund and what’s left in an alimony fund originally set up for his now-deceased second wife, Thelma. Notwithstanding the fact that Brooke openly affirmed her contempt for Charlene, referring to her on multiple occasions as a woman with “no class and no neck,” Charlene has also been legally given Brooke’s vast art collection, books and prized jewels.
Despite the unjust stipulations and spiteful stipulations of Anthony’s will, Philip and Alex remain complacent with their father’s decision to leave them without a cent of his assets. As Philip elucidates, “We are moving on. We are not going to contest the will.” Philip has even gone so far as to establish a website known as BeyondBrooke.com to confer visibility on to seniors who are abused by their loved ones or caretakers. Concurrently, he continues to appear in courts to fight for the rights of the elderly and to ensure that his grandmother’s experiences with abuse can aid others who are suffering.