The Ultra Rich Who Refuse to Leave Fortunes to Children

A number of ultra-rich tycoons have decided to divvy up their wealth for charity and other benefactors, leaving much less than they could to their children. Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are major proponents of this personal choice. They started The Giving Pledge, which invites the world’s richest to commit to donating at least half their money to charity. Here are several notable tycoons who’ve either signed The Giving Pledge or have otherwise decided not to leave their amassed fortunes to their children.

Warren Buffet – Berkshire Hathaway

Bill Gates’ good friend Warren Buffet is among the list of affluent who signed the Giving Pledge. He plans to give away 99% of his wealth to philanthropy either during his lifetime or death. Why not leave it all to his three kids? In an interview with Fortune magazine over 25 years ago, he was famously quoted for expressing that he’d like to give his children “enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.”

Gene Simmons – KISS Frontman

Rock legend and bassist for the internationally hot-selling band KISS has been quoted for expressing a similar sentiment in regards to his own two kids and their inheritance. He said in a CNBC interview, “…in terms of an inheritance and stuff, they’re gonna be taken care of, but they will never be rich off my money. Because every year they should be forced to get up out of bed, and go out and work and make their own way.” A self-made man who emigrated from Israel to the U.S. with his mother in the late 50s, Simmons pursued a variety of careers before becoming “The Demon.” His net worth has been estimated at $300 million.

Michael Bloomberg – New York City Mayor

An avid philanthropist with a net worth of $50.7 billion according to Forbes, Michael Bloomberg intends to give away nearly all his fortune or leave it to his foundation. He has signed The Giving Pledge, and in his letter to the foundation said, “If you want to do something for your children and show how much you love them, the single best thing-by far-is to support organizations that will create a better world for them and their children.”

Whether you’d like your children to inherit the whole of your fortune, want most of your wealth to go to charity, or feel like striking a balance between options, an experienced financial advisor can help you structure your estate planning so that more of the money goes to your benefactors and less is eaten up in tax obligations. Call Talley LLP to learn more about important inheritance and philanthropic strategies that can help protect your assets and mitigate your tax burden.