LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Brooke Astor, who died this week at 105, left her 83-year-old son a who’s who guest list for her funeral — and a will that pits him against other mourners who have accused him of going for her money while she lived in squalor.
The Park Avenue doyenne of philanthropy had been planning her funeral since 1979. The service, scheduled for Friday afternoon, was expected to draw an A-list of American celebrities to St. Thomas Church on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.
Names on Astor’s list include lifestyle guru Martha Stewart; singers Harry Belafonte and Renee Fleming; actress Whoopi Goldberg; Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy; Nancy Reagan and former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara.
Astor died Monday of pneumonia. She was to be buried in a cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Manhattan near her estate by the Hudson River.
In her will, she wrote the epitaph to be inscribed on her tombstone: “I had a wonderful life.” But as she approached death, the drama involving her family was far from wonderful.
Last year, her grandson filed a lawsuit against his own father, Anthony Marshall, claiming Astor’s son was neglecting his mother and letting one of America’s wealthiest women live in filth while trying to enrich himself.
Annette de la Renta, Astor’s close friend and the wife of designer Oscar de la Renta, and David Rockefeller, the banker and philanthropist, both signed affidavits supporting the claims.