Bill and Melinda Gates’ impending divorce has generated a lot of questions and speculation on how the split will affect their estimated $130 billion net worth. Although it’s unclear exactly how the couple intends to divide their assets, it appears the separation will have little to no impact on their children’s inheritance—mostly because they were never expected to receive much of their parents’ vast fortune.
As pointed out by Newsweek, Bill and Melinda have repeatedly expressed his intentions to leave the bulk of their wealth to charities, and only a fraction to their three kids: 25-year-old Jennifer, 21-year-old Rory, and 18-year-old Phoebe. The Microsoft co-founder addressed the topic during a 2017 AMA on Reddit, when a user asked him about his purported plans to only leave his children with $10 million each. Bill didn’t confirm that amount, but suggested his kids would receive just a small portion of his fortune.
“I definitely think leaving kids massive amounts of money is not a favor to them,” he replied. “Warren Buffett was part of an article in Fortune talking about this in 1986 before I met him and it made me think about it and decide he was right. Some people disagree with this but Melinda and I feel good about it.”
Bill made similar comments during a 2011 interview with the Daily Mail, explaining how his children have received a great deal of opportunities and advantages, but will have to put in work to create their own lives.
“It will be a minuscule portion of my wealth. It will mean they have to find their own way,” he told the outlet. “They will be given an unbelievable education and that will all be paid for. And certainly anything related to health issues we will take care of. But in terms of their income, they will have to pick a job they like and go to work. They are normal kids now. They do chores, they get pocket money.”
Bill and Melinda announced their decision to divorce last week, after 27 years of marriage. The soon-to-be-ex couple didn’t provide any details on what led to the decision, but have asked the public for space and privacy. Their daughter Jennifer echoed her parents’ in a statement released on Instagram.
”I’m still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as family members at this time, and am grateful for the space to do so…” she wrote. “Thank you for understanding our desire for privacy while we navigate the next phases of our lives.”