You may have just recently heard the news out of Australia about the country’s wealthiest woman, Gina Reinhart and her legal fight with her kids over her choice to disinherit them from the household fortune. Ms. Reinhart is the heir to her dad’s iron ore business estimated to be worth about $18 billion.
The details of the situation are somewhat complicated, however the story highlights an all too typical scenario where a parent wishes to disinherit his/her children.
This inheritance problem is more typical than you might believe. There is no state law that needs a parent to leave an inheritance to an adult child, though there are some exceptions for small kids. There are any number of reasons why a parent might pick to disinherit a kid, however family disagreements and a parent’s belief that the child will not be able to sufficiently handle the wealth are very common factors.
Ms. Reinhart is not alone in her status as a wealthy or celebrity who wishes to disinherit her kids. Take, for instance, starlet Joan Crawford. The topic of the film Mommy Dearest notoriously cut two of her 4 adopted children out of her estate, while leaving the 2 others about $70,000 each. Another star, Tony Curtis, picked not to leave anything to any of his 5 kids, including his child starlet Jamie Lee Curtis.
After Michael Jackson’s death, it was revealed that he made no arrangement for his daddy or any of his brothers and siblings in his last Will. While he did call his kids and his mother as a recipient of a trust he established, everybody else in his family was disinherited.