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What you can learn from Bill and Melinda Gates’ inheritance plans

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2021 | Estate Planning

Bill and Melinda Gates made headlines when they decided to get divorced. Bill, who was once the richest man in the world, is the head of the Microsoft computer corporation. His vast wealth needed to get divided when the couple chose to split up.  

Interestingly, the inheritance that the couple plans to leave to their children could factor in heavily. That’s not to say it’s the reason for the divorce, but the numbers could change — in the children’s favor — now that their parents are splitting up.  

Bill planned to leave just $10 million  

Now, to most people, $10 million is a significant amount of money. It may even be a life-changing total. But, when it came out that Bill Gates “only” wanted to leave that much to each child, it was clear that they would miss out on the vast majority of his wealth.   

However, recent reports indicate that Melinda would like to leave more to her children. Since she and Bill will not be married moving forward, they can create their own estate plans with the portion of the fortune that they each retain. This means that Melinda will have the ability to leave a much larger total to her children, if she would like to do so. What Bill does with his portion of the assets is up to him.   

Are you and your spouse on the same page?   

This case shows how important it is for two people to be on the same page regarding their inheritance goals. Do you and your spouse know what you’re each planning? Have you talked it over and worked together to create an inheritance plan that meets both of your goals?  

Now, you may not be dealing with the same level of wealth that the Gates’ are, but you could still have a substantial set of assets to leave your children. If you and your spouse have never discussed it, you may be surprised to learn that you have very different ideas regarding what should happen. The solution is to discuss this as early as you can and to work together to create a plan well in advance.