2006_10_astorsig.jpgOoh, finally we move to the "Handwriting Analysis" portion of the Astor spat! There were accusations of her son Anthony Marshall making 104 year old Brooke Astor wear tattered nightgowns and sit on a couch reeking of dog pee and being cheap with her medical care. Then there was the odd sale of her favorite painting. And of course allegations that her estate was being mishandled.

Although Marshall has agreed agreed to give up his role as caretaker and steward of his mother's estate - and to return $1.35 million of stuff as collateral for any potential claims against him after his mother passes on plus bow out as an executor of her will - a handwriting expert says that she did not sign a very important codicil on her will. The NY Times reports:The third codicil instructs the executor to sell her real estate holdings as part of the estate. Previously, Mrs. Astor’s will gave all her real property, including her Park Avenue duplex, to Mr. Marshall. Liquidating the real estate ultimately increases the executor’s commissions, which are generally based on the value of the estate, according to experts.

The second codicil, dated Jan. 12, 2004, designated Mr. Marshall as executor of his mother’s estate. After becoming sole executor, Mr. Marshall then named his wife and Mr. Morrissey as co-executors. But in August, after [Francis X.] Morrissey’s troubled legal career became public, Mr. Marshall removed him as an executor, according to court papers.(Marshall's wife also relinquished her role as an executor of the will as part of last week's settlement.) A court-appointed lawyer thought the handwriting looked different and brought the matter to the attention of handwriting expert, Gus R. Lesnevich. Lesnevich said the then-101 year old Astor “could not have written the questioned ‘Brooke Russell Astor’ signature dated March 3, 2004, due to the deterioration of her ability to write her name," based on analysis he conducted of her signature since 1992.

Marshall continues to claim that his mother did sign the codicil, but his lawyer says he will wait for his own expert to make a conclusion. But come on, Lesnevich worked on the cases of Leona Helmsley, Darryl Strawberry and Eddie "Crazy Eddie" Antar!