Families, money, and family money: the sad Astor saga

Earlier this month, the 89-year-old son of Brooke Astor, Anthony Marshall, finally entered prison to begin the prison sentence meted out upon his conviction for stealing tens of millions of dollars from his mother. Prosecutors charged that he and an Astor family lawyer had tricked the elderly woman into changing her will for Marshall’s benefit.

What surprises some people is how someone already so wealthy could connive with a family lawyer to enrich himself further. Didn’t he have plenty of money already?

What surprises others is that his own son blew the whistle on him, accusing him of both neglect of Mrs. Astor’s well-being and wrongly obtaining  her money.

Still others are surprised that a second son wrote to the sentencing judge to express concern for his father’s well-being. Despite being out of contact with Anthony Marshall for some years, he wished to be back in touch.

This sad tale is more extreme than most, but many families suffer from the potentially toxic mix of family, money, and family money. The wise ones try to deal with the issues, sooner rather than later.

Posted in Family Wealth Mediation, Thursday, June 27th, 2013

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