Rich parents risking future family provision claims

Published 03 Jul 2014

A number of celebrities and millionaires have publicly announced plans to leave their children little to nothing of their estate when they die. While many of these parents have admirable reasons for doing so, their offspring will be eligible to lodge family provision claims.

While some tycoons wish for their fortunes to benefit charities and impoverished communities, others have decided to leave their children out of their wills as a lesson in taking care of one’s self. Whatever the reason for offering their kids a disproportionately small bequest, the decision to do so may lead to many inheritance disputes as the children choose to seek a fairer percentage.

Here are three rich parents that have revealed plans to leave their children only small inheritances, and their reasons behind risking future family provision claims.

Sting

Ageing pop superstar Sting has recently spoken out about his succession planning ideals. Sting and his wife have decided not to burden their children with the weight of his AUS$327 million estate, though how much he intends to leave them is unclear.

“I certainly don’t want to leave them trust funds that are albatrosses round their necks,” he said, according to the Daily Mail. “They have to work.”

Bill Gates

The billionaire founder of Microsoft has been very vocal in his beliefs regarding big fortunes. After Gates and his wife set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 1994, they have long campaigned for other tycoons to give away significant portions of their estates.

Gates has revealed that he plans to give away 99 per cent of his fortune – worth $79 billion – before his death, leaving each of his children a trust worth less than $1 billion. While this may sound like a lot, receiving such a small percentage of the estate may inspire one or more of his three kids to contact a contesting wills lawyer.

Chuck Feeney

Famed businessman and the co-founder of the Duty-Free Shoppers Group at airports, Chuck Feeney, has already given away 99 per cent of his fortune. Much of his charitable giving was done in secret, before being revealed in recent years.

Living a life more suited to the working class, Feeney has long supported the idea of making his kids work through life. After amassing a massive $7.5billion fortune, he now has just $2 million left in the bank. However, that money is unlikely to still be there for his children when he passes away, as he famously quipped to the New York Times – “I want the last check I write to bounce.”

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