Mary Kennedy's Son, 18, to Run $2.1 Million Estate

8:29 AM, Jul 26, 2012   |    comments
Mary Richardson Kennedy and her son Conor Kennedy in 2009 (image credit Jason Kempin/Getty)
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White Plains, NY (written by Lee Higgins & Jonathan Bandler/The Journal News) -- Mary Richardson Kennedy's oldest son was named Wednesday as one of two administrators of her estate, estimated at nearly $2.1 million.

The estate's value includes up to $2 million for her interest in the Bedford home she shared with her estranged husband, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., according to court papers filed by newly selected administrators, the couple's son, Conor, and family friend and attorney Faith Miller.

The estimate did not include the undetermined value of Mary Kennedy's interest in the Richardson Family Trust. Court papers also show that her husband, who had moved out of the home after filing for divorce two years ago, renounced any rights he had to become administrator and consented in writing to the selection of his son and Miller.

Robert Kennedy was not present Wednesday during a hearing before Westchester Surrogate Judge Anthony Scarpino, where it was also revealed that Kennedy had agreed to pay his wife's divorce lawyers $278,000.

That was the amount they claimed he owed for their work in the months before Mary Kennedy committed suicide May 18 in the barn next to the couple's South Bedford Road home.

Those lawyers, at the firm of Hennessey & Bienstock, dropped their request that the public administrator be appointed to control Mary Kennedy's estate -- an effort they insisted had been to keep Robert Kennedy from deciding what happens with her assets.

Conor, whose full name is John Conor Kennedy, turned 18 on Tuesday and applied with Miller to be the administrator that afternoon. He said little during the hearing other than thanking the judge for wishing him a happy birthday. Scarpino said he expects to approve the application.

After the hearing, Mary Richardson Kennedy's older sister, Martha Richardson, said she hadn't decided whether to object to the decision.

She had expressed interest in being administrator, but didn't apply. Asked by a reporter why she was in court, Richardson said, "I think there are a lot of questions remaining about the circumstances of my sister's death." She declined to elaborate.

Mary Kennedy's suicide followed a lengthy battle with depression and the more recent tumult of seeing her husband win custody of the couple's four children as he was dating the actress Cheryl Hines.

And the bitterness of the couple's divorce proceedings has continued since her death, first with a court fight over Mary Kennedy's body.

Robert Kennedy won that battle and buried his estranged wife at the Kennedy family plot near Hyannis Port, Mass.

Her relatives stayed away from the funeral and held their own memorial service in Manhattan --and were mortified in recent weeks to learn that Mary Kennedy's body was reburied 700 feet away from Kennedy relatives.

A few weeks after the suicide, a published report revealed Robert Kennedy's claims in an affidavit during the divorce that his wife had physically abused him, drank alcohol excessively and had threatened suicide within earshot of their children. Her family blasted the claims as lies.

Mary Kennedy left no will and her son's application offered no details on specific assets she left behind.

But lawyers for her husband said last month that she had independent bank accounts containing tens of thousands of dollars and "her own premarital interest in several valuable rental properties."

Spouses are generally appointed administrators, although Bridget Crawford, who teaches estate law at Pace University School of Law, said it was not surprising that the position would go to someone other than Robert Kennedy considering the couple's marital problems.

(Contributing: The Associated Press)

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