Due to many of these celebs working tirelessly for their money in many different industries, they believe their children should have to do the same and make their own money, rather than taking over theirs. Although much of Hollywood showers their children with luxury everything, this group took a different approach and decided to put their hard-earned money to good use and not allow their kids to get their hands on it!
Music legend and his partner, film director, David Furnish have two young sons together and have said that while they want to give their children everything, they also want them to understand the importance of money and having a good work ethic. Elton stated that he does not want to give his kids a silver spoon as it ‘ruins their life’. While the music legend is worth $260 million, sons Zachary and Elijah will only be receiving a small portion of his wealth. It was reported that Elton and David will leave much of their fortune to their own charities.
Despite being the richest man in the world, Bill Gates has stated that his estimated $86.9 billion will go to his own charity, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation already has $40 billion in assets but Bill’s pledge to give the majority of his wealth to it will give the charity a huge boost. Bill stated that he believes to leave large amounts of money to his children would be no favor to them. Bill went further to encourage other wealthy individuals to join his pledge in giving his money to charity rather than his children.
Founder of the Virgin Group owning more that 400 companies, Richard Branson is a famous self-made billionaire. In 2013, Branson became the first British billionaire to join the giving pledge and donate at least half of his fortune to philanthropic causes. He stated that “I genuinely believe that wealth should work for the public good. The decision I made is not just an attempt to be remembered as a philanthropist. I also see it as a way to protect my children from the burden of the extreme wealth, which may deprive them of any motivation to achieve anything in life on their own.”
Music mogul and television personality Simon Cowell appears to have it all with houses around the world and constantly jet setting from one country to another on his private jet. However, it has been revealed that he won’t be leaving this lifestyle to his son, Eric. Prior to becoming a father, Simon stated that he doesn’t believe in passing on his money from one generation to another. Simon further commented that he will be leaving his $300 million fortune to charities focusing on kids and dogs.
Rocker Sting stated in 2014 that he has instilled a strong work ethic in all of his six children. He said that his children know they need to earn their own money and rarely ever ask him for anything, despite his $200 million fortune. Regarding his children’s inheritance, Sting stated that he intends to spend earn his hard earned money and doesn’t expect there to be much left. Sting likened giving his kids trust fund to having ‘albatrosses around their necks.’
‘Kiss’ legend Gene Simmons decided that he wouldn’t be giving his children an inheritance as he wanted them to make their own money. He stated that his children should earn their own money if they want to live a lavish lifestyle. Gene stated that although he would give his children a small sum of his wealth, they certainly wouldn’t become rich off of the money he would give them. His son Nick appears to be doing exactly that when it was reported he was trying to make his own way into music.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
The late Oscar-winner, director and producer passed away in 2014 from a class-A drug overdose. Following his death, it was revealed that he did not leave any money to his children. Seymour’s personal wealth was estimated to be around $35 million at the time he passed away. The reason he did not leave money to his children in the will was because he did not like the idea of his kids been considered ‘trust fund kids’. Instead, he left all of the money to his wife Mimi O’Donnell.
Business investor and billionaire mogul Warren Buffet is the second wealthiest man in the world with a net worth estimated at $78.9 billion. His work as a philanthropist has led him pledging to give away 99 percent of his fortune. As a close, personal friend of Bill Gates, he has stated that 83 per cent of his fortune will specifically go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is thought that the one per cent of his estate will go to his children, when Warren stated that he wants to give them enough so they feel they can do anything but not enough that they feel they don’t need to do anything.
Despite coming from a wealthy family of chefs and caterers, Nigella made her own money through television shows and cookery books. Nigella’s personal success inspired her to encourage her own children to make their own success. For this reason, she has stated that she is determined that her children have no financial security. Nigella believes that not having to earn money ‘ruins people.’ Nigella’s wealth is estimated at $150 million and although her husband wants to leave money to their children, Nigella wants them to make their own success.
Former New York City mayor and successful businessman Michael Bloomberg is reportedly worth an estimated $34 billion. Bloomberg made the vast majority of his fortune through his ownership of his financial information company. Bloomberg was another billionaire who signed Bill Gates’ giving pledge, donating his fortune to his charity, The Bloomberg Philanthropic Foundation’, rather than giving it to his children for their inheritance. Bloomberg stated “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.”
The eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is worth a staggering $7.6 billion through his world famous buying and selling site. In 2001, he stated in an interview that him and his wife would give away the majority of their fortune as they had more money than their family would ever need in their lifetime. Pierre further stated that there is no need to hold on to the money for future generations when it can do so much good in the world to help people today. Pierre and his wife stated the Humanity United Foundation supporting anti-slavery nonprofits which is where the money is expected to go.
Youngest billionaire in the world Mark Zuckerberg welcomed his first child in 2015 and soon after wrote a letter promising to donate 99% of his Facebook shares, which is the majority of his personal wealth. The Facebook founder has an estimated net worth of $53.8 billion and pledged to give away around $45 billion during their lives. His letter to his daughter expressed the overwhelming love they had for her and want her to grow up in a better world than theirs, so want to advance this mission by donating their money.
In 2006, legendary singer James Brown died of congested heart failure and left behind a $100 million fortune. However, it was reported that the family were not aware of what his will stated and he allegedly left almost all of his money to help educate underprivileged children in South Carolina and Georgia. James’ seven children and his fourth wife were apparently outraged when they found out they wouldn’t be receiving any inheritance. From the month after he died, his family contested the will and later fought over it for almost three years.
Legendary, Oscar-winning actress, Joan Crawford caused controversy within her family when she decided to leave two of her adopted children out of her will. Out of her $2 million estate, she only included her children Cindy and Cathy who received $77,000 each. The reasons why her two other children were left out of the will is not known, but two years after Joan’s death, her daughter Christina wrote a book titled ‘Mommie Dearest’ in which she wrote about Joan being an abusive mother.
When singer Barry White passed away back in 2003, he did not leave a will behind for his family. This prompted his then-girlfriend and wife (who he was separated from) to begin a legal battle to receive White’s assets. In the legal investigation, a paternity test revealed that his girlfriends daughter was not biologically his, despite Barry raising her as his own. As a result, Barry’s wife won the legal battle and was awarded access to Barry’s money.
Due to his Rastafarian beliefs, Bob Marley did not draw up a will, dividing up his money for his family. When he sadly died of cancer in 1981 a battle ensued over his fortune from his music and legacy. His wife took matters into her own hands and tried to win his estate through forging documents which backfired and she lost her rights as executor. The ugly battle for his money has gone on for years after his death with his family trying to control the access to Bob Marley music and any associations with him.
When famous singer Amy Winehouse died in 2011 at the young age of 27, her ex-husband had reportedly expected to inherit her estate. From this, rumors circulated that prior to her death, Amy had updated her will to prevent her ex from receiving any of her estate. However, this turned out to be false and the truth was that she left her money to her parents with no mention of the ex-husband in her will. Her parents have mostly used the money to keep her legacy going through charities and awareness.
Martin Luther King Jr.
When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, he did not have a will and a for-profit organization was setup to take care of his intellectual property. Despite this, his family had many legal struggles for decades in trying to win the money from his estate. This in turn, led them trying to sell his property for money. His family even sold Martin Luther’s Nobel Peace Prize, his personal bible along with many of this other notable personal items. This decision was not favorable among many others.
American media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner set up the Turner Foundation back in 1990. The charity gives grants to environmental causes and Ted set up the family Foundation so that his children could be involved. Furthermore, in 1997, Ted launched the United Nations Foundation with an initial pledge of $1 billion. Despite being worth a reported $2.2 billion, Ted had stated that at the time of his death, virtually all of his wealth would have gone to charity. This in turn, would leave his five children without an estate to inherit.
Robert Kardashian Sr.
The late lawyer of OJ Simpson and the patriarch of the infamous Kardashian family, Robert Kardashian, died in 2003 after a short battle with cancer. Robert got married on his death bed and his estate was left to his widowed wife after documents were found with his signature, leaving it to her. From this, the Kardashian children were left no money as the ex-wife had taken it. The Kardashian children had disputed the will and accused Robert’s ex-wife of forging documents.
British comedian Lenny Henry commended celebrities for not leaving their wealth to their children, encouraging them to make their own money. Henry shares a 23-year-old daughter with fellow British comedian Dawn French. Despite having a net worth over $8 million from many lucrative television contracts, Lenny wants his daughter to be financially independent. Henry stated that by over indulging children of celebrities, they are often not able to learn by themselves and won’t be equipped to make in life on their own.
Scottish Billionaire, entrepreneur and ‘Dragon’s Den’ television personality Duncan Bannatyne is said to be worth an estimated $250 million. It was previously reported that Duncan alleged stated that he will donate his fortune to charity, leaving his children to make money for themselves. However, after going into debt with a bank, Duncan had a change of heart and decided to leave Trust Funds for his children but apparently said they have to show commitment to working and making a living before he decides to give them control of it.
In 2007, the grandfather of socialite Paris Hilton and hotel chain owner Barron, pledged to give 97 percent of his $2.3 billion estate to charity. The money will be donated to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation which will raise assets to $4.5 billion. The donation sparked news as granddaughter Paris built her career upon being the Hilton hotel heiress, but it was reported that her grandfather was ’embarrassed’ by his granddaughter’s controversial behavior and apparently said it had ‘sullied’ the family name. Although Paris will no longer be inheriting billions from her grandfather, due to her multiple businesses, she has made millions in her own right.
Iconic actress Elizabeth Taylor was one of the most popular stars of classical Hollywood cinema in the 1950s. Her successful career as an actress earned her millions and she became a tabloid favorite through her eight marriages and amassing one of the most expensive private jewelry collections. Her net worth was estimated upwards of $600 million at the time of her death in 2011, and through her dedication to her charity and her activism in HIV/AIDS, it was reported that the majority of her estate went towards this. This left her family feuding over her fortune as they were only left a small sum in comparison to what was donated to charity.
American businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist Larry Ellison was listed as the fifth-wealthiest person in the world with a fortune of $55 billion. Ellison had joined Bill Gates’ giving pledge with a number of other famous billionaire’s in donating over 98% of their wealth. Although Ellison had pledged to donate the majority of his wealth, his two children have pursued their passions and made their own millions in creating their own film production companies which have funded critically-acclaimed blockbusters.
American entertainer and television personality David Gest suddenly died from a stroke in 2016 at the age of 62. As Gest did not have any children to give his estimated $10 million fortune to, it was reported that the majority of the money was left to his attorney. Upon hearing that attorney Edward Bearmann was given Gest’s collection of memorabilia, clothes belonging to the late Michael Jackson, some of his properties as well as a substantial amount of his money, David’s sister decided to take legal action against the executors of his will.
The ‘Spanx’ CEO had made a $1 billion fortune through selling women a shaping product to make them feel sexy and empowered. Further to this, Blakely has gone on to become a philanthropist focusing on helping women and girls, finding jobs for homeless women. Her charity work was taken a step further after she was invited to dinner with Bill Gates where they discussed their respective charities. After being inspired by the richest man in the world, Sara decided to join the giving pledge and donate most of her wealth to charity, rather than to her family.
Co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen has an estimated net worth of $18.6 billion and alongside his business ventures, Allen has set up a number of humanitarian organizations which have been heavily influential. Ventures including the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the Institute for Cell Science have been revolutionary in their research and development, all of which has been funded by Paul. Furthermore, his work with the environment and conservation led him to join the giving pledge, donating the majority of his wealth towards his not-for-profit scientific research.
Late TV producer Aaron Spelling had a fortune estimated at $600 million at the time of his death and rather than passing his fortune to his two children, it was reported he had given it to his wife to divide up. His wife Candy explained that the reason Aaron did not leave his money to his children was because he knew they would spend it. Aaron’s actress daughter Tori was known to spend thousands of dollars shopping, on lavish parties and unnecessary items. For this reason, his children were reported to have only been left around $800,000 each.
British multi-millionaire businessman John Roberts made his fortune co-founding domestic appliance sales company AO.com, which then opened on the stock market. John spoke of his upbringing stating that his father instilled a philosophy that he would give him the best start in life that he could and then the rest was up to him. Roberts famously took this start and became hugely successful off his own merit. Roberts stated that he will do the same for his children and said ‘the kids are getting nothing’. He went on to say that him and his wife would support their children in their own careers and encourage them to make their own success without their fathers millions.
Former ‘James Bond’ star Sean Connery was one of the most prominent and successful actors of his time, starring in some of the most classic movies of all time. Sean grew up in a two-bedroom house without a bathroom and left school as a 13-years-old to do hard labor jobs for only $2 per week. Due to his humble beginnings, Sean wanted his son to have the same work ethic to make his own money. His former wife, Diane Cliento, revealed that Sean had told his son he wouldn’t receive a penny and will not be mooching off his father.
When music legend George Michael unexpectedly died in late 2016, many were wondering what would happen to his $128 million estate as he died without heirs. George had two sisters so it left many wondering why he did not leave his fortune to them in his will! It was reported that his estate would then be divided up between his Godchildren instead. The majority of his Godchildren had famous parents including Geri Halliwell of the Spice Girls’ daughter and the children of Michael’s Wham! Bandmates. Furthermore, it was reported that his partner Fadi Fawaz would also receive a portion of his estate.
Singer and songwriter Jimi Hendrix died without a will in 1970 at just 27-years-old. For 20-years, Hendrix’s fortune was managed by a California attorney before Jimi’s father, Al, sued for the right’s to his sons music which he later won in 1995. However, when Al died in 2002, the Hendrix estate was worth $80 million at the time, of which the majority was left to Al’s adopted daughter Janie. This prompted a lawsuit from Al’s biological son Leon who insisted that Janie had manipulated the situation to get the fortune. The Hendrix inheritance saga continues today with much of the family launching lawsuits against each other in an attempt to gain control of the fortune, now valued at $175 million.
Singing superstar Prince died in April, 2016 after an overdose with painkillers but it was reported that he had written no will in order to divide up his fortune. Prince was worth an estimated $300, and this huge fortune has led his family and others claiming to be related to the singer to receive a portion of his amassed wealth. Due to Prince having no living children to be his heirs, it was reported that the courts are likely to split his estate between his sister and five half-siblings.
Retired talk show host and television personality Oprah only had one child who died as a premature baby when she was only 14-years-old. Oprah then made the decision to not have any more children with her partner so she does not have an heir to her $2.9 billion fortune. Being a philanthropist with her own foundation, it was reported that most of her money will be donated to this and an additional $30 million will be given to her dogs. Oprah’s pooches will be living a life of luxury if their owner dies before them. Just think of all the bones and meat they can buy!
Although Sonny was best known for his partnership with Cher, he was also a producer, actor and politician. He was much loved, meaning that the world was in shock at his death. Sonny was just 62 years old when he succumbed to his injuries which he suffered while skiing. Due to his untimely death, Sonny never had a will meaning that his $2 million estate was battled for over years by his surviving fourth wife. In the end the estate was split between his surviving children.
Leona Helmsley, also known as ‘The Queen Of Mean’, was a shrewd businesswoman with a reputation to go with it. She was estimated to be worth around $4 billion at the time of her death. Instead of Leona leaving her estate to her family, she left strict instructions for it to be left to her dog. Yes, that’s right her dog! This included $100,000 for full-time security. Leona also wrote her two grandchildren out of the will.
Stieg Larsson was an esteemed author who was most famous for writing The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest trilogy. Tragically he had a heart attack and died aged just 50 before his books were even published! Larsson never wrote a will, and as a result his partner Eva Gabrielsson never got a penny even though she was with Stieg for 32 years. This is because Swedish law doesn’t acknowledge unmarried couples, meaning Eva never had any rights to the inheritance.
Star Wars creator George Lucas was inspired by Bill Gates’ pledge to give his large fortune to charity instead of his children and decided to take a similar approach. In 2010, George wrote a letter specifying where his money would go to after he had passed on. He stated that he is dedicated to to improving education and that is where the majority of his money would go. In 2012, he also revealed that the $4 billion he had received from Disney would also be donated rather than distributed between his four children.
Canadian businessman, investor and TV personality Kevin O’Leary made his millions from numerous successful business ventures in different industries. He noted that he won’t be giving his whole fortune to his two children as he doesn’t believe it will aid their work ethic. He commented that “If you don’t start out your life with the fear of not being able to feed yourself and your family, then what motivates you to go get a job?”, he said. “Fear motivated me, and it will motivate them.”
Steve McNair was a much loved NFL player who even played in a SuperBowl. In 2009 McNair was shot by his mistress. McNair, like so many of the celebs on this list, never left any sort of will. His assets which were estimated to be around $19 million were automatically frozen, and McNair’s two sons were at risk of receiving nothing. Eventually, they did and a court ordered that their shares be put into trust funds, since they were still minors.
Martial arts specialist and Chinese actor Jackie Chan had humble beginnings and was born to refugee parents. Jackie made it on his own, starting his career with small roles before becoming a big star through his martial arts, action-packed movies. Due to Jackie making it on his own, he has stated that he wants his son Jaycee to make his own money too. He noted he will be giving his fortune away to charity and regarding Jaycee, he stated, “If he is capable, he can make his own money. If he is not, then he will just be wasting my money,”
American artist, author and actress Gloria Vanderbilt is the heiress to the famous Vanderbilt fortune. Gloria’s father Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt was the creator of the railroad and as his only child, inherited his fortune and dynasty. However, Gloria’s children will not be inheriting the Vanderbilt fortune worth an estimated $200 million. One of Gloria’s children, TV personality Anderson Cooper made a name and personal brand for himself and stated that he considered the money a ‘curse’. He said he believes that inheriting that kind of money holds kids back from making their own.
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber
Critically-acclaimed English composer and musical theatre creator, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, has made his fortune from composing some of the biggest stage shows on the West End and Broadway. Webber has said that he has devoted his life to the arts and he intends to leave his money in the hands of art programs. Although he has said that he will leave his children in good hands, he will give away the majority of his money.
Aaron Hernandez’s will and estate details are a hot topic of late. The former football player also never left a will, however a judge has just ruled that Hernandez’s estate is worth $0, which left us in disbelief! However, Hernandez’s girlfriend will now be able to sell his mansion which is estimated to be worth over $1 million. The home apparently boasts a swimming pool, cinema and a garage that can fit three cars. Hopefully that will be some security for his daughter.