Many believe that inheritance is the best path to becoming wealthy since it is also the quickest. After all, it’s a type of lottery you’ve already won at birth. Yet, some billionaires and multimillionaires consider leaving their fortunes to children and grandchildren as unfair and even dangerous.
Instead of keeping it all in the family, some rich people have a broader vision for maximizing their family legacy. To ensure that their children and grandchildren earn their own money through hard work and their own merits, these ultra-wealthy celebrities have left their offspring only a small part of their fortune, and in some cases, even cut them out entirely.
1. Bill Gates
Known as: Founder of Microsoft
Net Worth: $106.8 Billion
In 1975, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft with his childhood friend, Paul Allen. Nobody expected Gates to become a millionaire by the age of 26, much less the richest person in the world for most of the last two decades.
Having amassed a nest egg of more than $100 billion, Bill and his wife Melinda are focused on how their fortune can inspire and enable others to benefit the least fortunate on a global level through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dedicating well over 99% of their legacy to charity, and calling on other billionaires to do the same through a program called The Giving Pledge, they have indicated they will still set aside a modest $10 million for each of their three children.
2. Warren Buffett
Known as: Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Berkshire-Hathaway
Net Worth: $87.7 Billion
Warren Buffett prides himself on hard work and a modest lifestyle. As one of the champions of “value investing,” from a very young age Buffett spent hours and hours searching the financial numbers of companies in hopes of finding one that was undervalued. Despite amassing a fortune approaching $100 billion, he still lives in the house in Omaha, Nebraska that he bought in 1958 for $31,000.
When it comes to passing along the fruits of his labor, however, the “Oracle of Omaha” is dedicated to spreading the wealth well beyond the Buffett family tree. Buffett shared the reasoning behind his commitment to giving away 99% of his wealth to charities: “I’m not an enthusiast for dynastic wealth, particularly when six billion others have much poorer hands than we do in life.”
3. George Lucas
Known as: Creator/Producer of Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises
Net Worth: $6.4 Billion
Best known for creating the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, George Lucas has been a pioneer in a range of filmmaking technologies, as well as a savvy businessman. When he found that implementing his vision of digital special effects was too expensive, he founded his own company, Industrial Light and Magic. In 2012, he sold his production company, LucasFilms, along with the rights to all Star Wars films to Disney for $4.5 billion.
Rather than ensure each of his four children becomes a billionaire, Lucas dedicated his fortune to supporting education by joining The Giving Pledge in 2012. Here’s what Lucas had to say about his donation: “As long as I have the resources at my disposal, I will seek to raise the bar for future generations of all ages.”
4. Simon Cowell
Known as: Creator, Producer, Host of American Idol, America’s Got Talent, X Factor
Net Worth: $506 Million
Simon Cowell has capitalized on the popularity of reality television to amass a half-billion dollar fortune from the proceeds of wildly successful, long-running competition shows. Starting with American Idol in 2002, Cowell’s career expanded to Britain’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent, and syndicated X Factor versions running in countries around the world.
His most precious production came in 2014, when Cowell became a father with the arrival of his son Eric. Even before his son was born, Cowell took a strong stance on the value of making it on one’s own, telling The Mirror. “I don’t believe in passing on from one generation to another. Your legacy has to be that hopefully, you gave enough people an opportunity so that they could do well, and you gave them your time, taught them what you know.”
5. Kevin O’Leary
Known as: Co-founder of O’Leary Funds and SoftKey, Judge on Shark Tank
Net Worth: $400 Million
Though fans of Shark Tank know O’Leary as a tough but fair judge of new ideas, it turns out that he does not plan on ensuring his wealth is transferred to his kids once he’s gone. Instead, he believes it’s his duty as a parent to force his kids to fend for themselves.
Leary told Time Magazine, “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? Fear motivated me, and it will motivate them.”
6. Jackie Chan
Known as: Martial Arts Star, Producer of Multiple Action Movies
Net Worth: $400 Million
Jackie Chan has sustained a legendary career on the big screen as an actor, director, producer, and even a stuntman. He is famous for performing his own stunts, often at great risk. Off the set, Chan has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a supporter of education, an outspoken activist against animal abuse, and backer of disaster relief through his Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation.
As a result of working hard his whole life, Chan does not plan to leave any of his wealth to his son. Instead, he plans on leaving half of his wealth to charity. Chan believes in hard work, commenting in an interview on Channel News Asia: “He can make his own money.”
7. Nigella Lawson
Known as: Celebrity Chef
Net Worth: $20 Million
Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson built up a loyal following with her delicious recipes and on-screen charisma. Lawson is married to Charles Saatchi, one of the leading advertising executives in the world. After their divorce in 2013, Lawson indicated that while her three children from her first marriage to John Diamond would not be cut out of her will entirely, she was determined not to spoil them.
In an interview with British magazine My Weekly, Lawson spelled out her reasoning: “I am determined that my children should have no financial security. It ruins people not having to earn money.”
8. Gordon Ramsay
Known as: Celebrity Chef
Net Worth: $220 Million
In addition to a string of restaurants, Gordon Ramsay’s main claim to fame is his quick temper and even quicker wit when dressing down his staff and critics alike. Though his success has resulted in a nine-figure fortune, Ramsay doesn’t seem to be too interested in wealth or in passing it along to his five children.
Indicating he planned to give most of his wealth to charity, Ramsay shared his view of tough love with The Telegraph saying: “I’ve never been really turned on about the money. [My kids] don’t sit with us in first class. They haven’t worked anywhere near hard enough to afford that.”
9. Gloria Vanderbilt
Known as: Actress, Artist, Fashion Designer, Author, Heiress
Net Worth: $1.5 to $200 Million
As an heiress to the Vanderbilt shipping and railroad fortune, Gloria Vanderbilt lived a glorious life as a New York socialite, freely pursuing her passions as an artist, actress, fashion designer, and author. When she passed away in June 2019, none of the Vanderbilt fortune passed on to her son Anderson Cooper, famous in his own right as a CNN anchor.
Cooper seemed to be at peace with the situation, commenting in an interview with Entertainment Weekly and PEOPLE Magazine editor Jess Cagle, “I think my mom and dad both wanted to get across to me that … I obviously grew up with great privilege and was very lucky and was able to afford college and not have student loans and they would pay for college, but beyond that, it would be up to me to make a living.”
Known as: Musician, Actor
Net Worth: $400 Million
For most of the 1970s, Gordon Sumner, also known as Sting, was a bus conductor, construction worker, tax clerk, and teacher before he became a famous musician. Four decades later, Sting’s role as the frontman of The Police and an illustrious solo career grew his fortune to an estimated $400 million. With Sting still recording new music and touring, who knows how much his wealth will continue to grow in the years to come.
In an interview with The Guardian, Sting shared that his spending habits mean that his six children should not expect to receive a great deal after his passing. “I told them there won’t be much money left because we are spending it. We have a lot of commitments. What comes in we spend, and there isn’t much left. I certainly don’t want to leave them trust funds that are albatrosses round their necks. They have to work. All my kids know that and they rarely ask me for anything, which I really respect and appreciate.”
11. Elton John
Known as: Musician, Activist
Net Worth: $500 Million
Elton John has given fans around the world a great deal of happiness. John has produced more than 30 albums, tours regularly, and wrote the Oscar-winning song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” for the soundtrack of The Lion King.
While his two sons are growing up in the limelight of their father’s fame and fortune, John has shared that after his passing, they will need to find their own paths to success. Sir Elton told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “Of course, I want to leave my boys in a very sound financial state. But it’s terrible to give kids a silver spoon. It ruins their life.”
12. Andrew Lloyd Weber
Known as: Award-Winning Playwright, Composer
Net Worth: $1.2 Billion
Composer Andrew Lloyd Weber proves that it’s possible to produce quantity and quality. Over the last fifty years, he has created some of the most enduring scores for stage and screen alike, including Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Evita, and The Phantom of the Opera. Along the way, Weber has won dozens of awards and entry into the exclusive EGOT club, having won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards.
While it’s unclear what will happen to all of his awards after he’s gone, Weber has shared his financial plans for his five children from two marriages. In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Weber stressed his value of work ethic instead of inherited wealth. “They aren’t bothered. They don’t think that way. It is about having a work ethic - I don’t believe in inherited money at all.”
13. Philip Seymour Hoffman
Known as: Actor
Net Worth: $35 Million
Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman earned accolades for his performances in classic movies such as Scent of a Woman, Boogie Nights, and The Big Lebowski. He won the Oscar for Best Actor for playing the title role in Capote. His career was cut far too short in 2014, when Hoffman died due to a drug overdose.
Though his death came as a shock to all, he had taken formal steps years earlier to ensure that his three children would not grow up as entitled “trust fund kids,” choosing instead to leave his millions to his partner and their mother, Mimi O’Donnell. Though Hoffman didn’t think he needed to protect his wealth for his children, he did stipulate that they should “be raised in a city with art and culture,” ideally Manhattan, Chicago, or San Francisco.
14. Barron Hilton
Known as: Heir, Chairman of the Hilton Hotel Corporation
Net Worth: $4.5 Billion
Barron Hilton inherited a great deal of wealth from his father Conrad, who established the hotel chain under the family name as a global leader in hospitality. Growing up a millionaire, Barron took advantage of the virtually unlimited choices that came with his vast wealth. He indulged in an expensive hobby as a private pilot with a vast array of aircrafts and started the American Football League, which would eventually merge with the NFL and create the Super Bowl.
But when it came to passing along the family fortune to his eight children and high-profile grandchildren Paris and Nicki, Barron decided to break with family tradition. Barron instead opted to donate 97% to charity, mostly to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
15. Gene Simmons
Known as: Musician
Net Worth: $350 Million
Though the initial path to wealth for Gene Simmons came as bassist and co-lead singer for the 1970s glam metal rock group KISS, over the last few decades he has added to his music royalties with investments in motorsports, restaurants, and commercial cannabis.
A multimillionaire for the past few decades, Simmons grew up poor and wants to make sure his son and daughter stay hungry for their own success. In an interview with CNBC, Simmons is quoted as stating, “Every day they should be forced to get up out of bed and go out and work and make their own way.”
16. Joan Crawford
Known as: Actress
Net Worth: $2 Million
Actress Joan Crawford rose to stardom in Hollywood of the 1930s due to her beauty, acting range, and sultry demeanor. Off the set, Crawford was abusive, with some of her more outrageous behavior chronicled by her adopted daughter Christina in her memoir “Mommie Dearest,” published a year after Crawford’s death in 1977.
Though she left $77,500 to each of her two younger children, Cindy and Cathy, Crawford cut Christina and son Christopher out of her will entirely. Crawford stated, “It is my intention to make no provision herein for my son Christopher or my daughter Christina for reasons which are well known to them.”
17. Mark Zuckerberg
Known as: Founder and CEO of Facebook
Net Worth: $74.5 Billion
Though Facebook launched only 15 years ago, its ability to redefine social networking in the twenty-first century has expanded the Facebook empire to include billions of regular users and made founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg one of the richest people in the world. Hoping to leave the world a better place, Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan established the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to support a range of philanthropic objectives.
To demonstrate their commitment, they have dedicated 99% of their fortune to the Initiative. Here is what Zuckerberg stated in a Facebook post, titled ‘A letter to our daughter’: “We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.”
18. Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis
Known as: Actors
Net Worth: $200 Million
Kutcher and Kunis met in 1998 after being cast on That ’70s Show, but didn’t start dating until 2012. The two stars were married in 2015 and have two young children. Though they have gone to great lengths to preserve their children’s privacy, Kutcher shared their outlook on financial planning for their futures.
In an interview on the podcast Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, Kutcher is quoted as saying, “I’m not setting up a trust for them. We’ll end up giving our money away to charity and to various things. If my kids want to start a business, and they have a good business plan, I’ll invest in it, but they’re not getting trusts ... so hopefully they’ll be motivated to have what they had or some version of what they had.”
19. Aaron Spelling
Known as: Television Producer
Net Worth: $600 Million
For decades, Aaron Spelling had the golden touch for television, producing Starsky & Hutch, Charlie’s Angels, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Melrose Place, and Beverly Hills 90210. With the fruits of his success, Spelling built one of the biggest mansions in all of Beverly Hills and spoiled his children Tori and Randy with lavish gifts and trips.
Later in life, Spelling decided that his children were not the best equipped to handle his immense wealth due to their outrageous spending habits. In the end, his will reportedly left daughter Tori with less than $1 million out of a total fortune of $600 million.
20. Robert Kardashian
Known as: Defense Attorney on O.J. Simpson Trial
Net Worth: $30 Million
When he passed away in 2003 after a long battle with cancer, Rob Kardashian left an estate estimated at just shy of $30 million to his wife, Ellen Pierson, whom he had married less than a year before. Not in his will were first wife Kris and their four children -- Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, and Rob.
Though they obviously went on eventually to carve out their own incredibly successful careers and build their own fortunes, at the time, the Kardashian clan were outraged and contested the will in court. The court ultimately rejected the suit that claimed Robert’s widow had illegally forged documents.
21. Sean Connery
Known as: Actor, Portrayed James Bond in Seven Films
Net Worth: $350 Million
Best known as playing secret agent James Bond, Sean Connery’s childhood was anything but glamorous. Growing up in very challenging circumstances, Connery dropped out of school at age 13 and worked as a milk delivery boy, truck driver, and even a coffin polisher. Connery eventually learned how to cash in on his good looks as a model, bodybuilder, and eventually an actor.
Over the span of six decades, Connery has appeared in dozens of films, earned a knighthood, and built a nine-figure fortune. However, according to his ex-wife Diane Cilento, none of his millions will go to his only son Jason. When asked for a reaction, Jason commented to The Telegraph to defend his father, stating he “earned this money, through nothing but his own tireless hard work, and what he does with it and who he gives it to is completely up to him.”
22. Tony Curtis
Net Worth: $60 Million
Tony Curtis was an actor for five decades, appearing in dozens of films and television series from 1949 until 2008, two years before his death in 2010. Off screen, Curtis was also prolific, with six marriages, five of which ended in divorce.
After his death, his estate sold off his memorabilia for an estimated $1 million, but none of the proceeds or the rest of his estate were dedicated to his six children, including actress Jamie Lee Curtis. Instead, his will, which he reportedly re-wrote shortly before his death, specifically disinherited all six children but stopped short of supplying his rationale.
23. 50 Cent
Known as: Musician, Rapper, Actor
Net Worth: $30 Million
Rapper 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson III, has faced a number of daunting challenges throughout his life, from losing his mother at age 8, selling crack as a teenager, and being shot. His family life has also involved turmoil, including a bitter custody battle with ex-girlfriend Shaniqua Tompkins over their son Marquise, who was born when 50 Cent was only 21-years-old.
As Marquise has gotten older and no longer needs child support payments, 50 Cent and his son have drifted further and further apart. In June 2019, 50 Cent went as far as publicly disowning Marquise by commenting on Instagram: “I got a blood test that’s not my kid.”
24. Ted Turner
Known as: Founder of CNN, TNT, and TBS
Net Worth: $2.2 Billion
Ted Turner burst into the spotlight in the 1970s as the pioneer of 24-hours cable news with the founding of the Cable News Network (CNN). He parlayed the success of CNN into other channels, including TBS and TNT, and a range of other lucrative investments, including the Atlanta Braves and World Championship Wrestling.
Having made his fortune in the volatile, ultra-competitive world of media, Turner turned increasingly to rural America. Turner bought up huge amounts of property in the Western plains and mountains to become at one time the largest single landowner in America. Consequently, Turner has placed the highest priority on supporting environmental and conservation causes through the Turner Foundation, which he launched in 1990.
25. Pierre Omidyar
Known as: Founder of eBay
Net Worth: $12.8 billion*
Pierre Omidyar is a billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the founder of the e-commerce site eBay, and was the head of the company until 2015. He owns five percent of eBay and six percent of Paypal, a financial money transfer service. Pierre has three children with his wife, Pamela Kerr.
Omidyar has stated that he will not be leaving money to his kids because that would require him to “hold onto it.” He stated in a letter when he signed the Giving Pledge (where billionaires pledge to give away most of their money) that he intended to put his fortune to better use.
26. Mickey Rooney
Known as: Guest host on 60 Minutes, Actor
Net Worth: $20,000*
Mickey Rooney was one of the last surviving stars from the silent movie era, having started appearing in Vaudeville productions when he was just a toddler. Rooney, who was born in 1920 and died in 2014, appeared in movies like The Black Stallion, National Velvet, Night at the Museum, and more.
He and his spouse, Jan Rooney, were married from 1978 until his 2014 death. Rooney disinherited eight of his kids. He had a modest estate when he died due to debt, and he left that small estate to his stepson. He made this decision a few weeks before he died.
27. Marlon Brando
Known as: Two-time Oscar winner
Net Worth: $100 million*
Marlon Brando is considered one of the greatest actors of all time, thanks to his chameleon-like acting skills and ability to impersonate just about anyone. The actor had a career lasting more than six decades, starting in 1944 and ending in 2004. Brando was in movies like The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, A Streetcar Named Desire, and more.
Brando passed away at the age of 80 years old. He had several kids, one of which was Christian Brando. Christian was troubled and passed before his father. Brando’s other kids were troubled as well, and Brando cut two of them out of his will.
28. David Cassidy
Known as: Member of the Partridge Family
Net Worth: $500,000*
David Cassidy was famous for his role as Keith Partridge in the 1970’s sitcom The Partridge Family. Cassidy became a teen icon in the 70s, both as a singer and as an actor. He was born in 1950 in Manhattan, and he died in 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He had two kids, Beau and Katie.
Cassidy claimed that he was “proud” of his daughter, but the two did not see eye to eye for reasons neither party clarified. That was clear when he signed a will that specifically disinherited her. He left $150,000 to his son, Beau.
29. Michael Jackson
Known as: The King of Pop
Net Worth: $500 million*
Michael Jackson was a singer and songwriter. He had three kids, and he was often called “The King of Pop” for his tremendous impact on pop music. Jackson died unexpectedly in 2009, leaving behind three young children, Michael Jr., Paris, and Prince. He signed his will in 2002 before his last child was born.
He did not leave all of his money to his children. He split the money between his kids, his mother, and the various charities to which he was dedicated. Michael left no money to his father, Joe, with whom he had a tumultuous relationship.
30. Reg Grundy
Known as: Australian TV producer
Net Worth: $800 million*
Australian producer Reg Grundy produced shows such as Scrabble, ABBA: The Movie, and Time Machine, among many others. Grundy left behind a fortune of nearly a billion dollars. He was born in 1923 and died in 2016. For over four decades, he was married to his wife, Joy Chambers, with whom he had one child, Kim.
When Grundy died, a man named Simon Thomas Russell stepped up to claim he was the love child of the TV mogul. He sought a portion of the inheritance. The court did DNA testing and found that Reg was not the father, and Simon was kicked out of the will contest.
31. Richard "Old Man" Harrison
Known as: Pawn Stars pawn shop owner
Net Worth: $8 million*
Rick Harrison, nicknamed “Old Man,” was one of the owners of the pawnshop in Pawn Stars, a reality show. He died in 2018 of Parkinson’s disease at the age of seventy-seven. He had three sons, Rick Jr., Joseph, and Christopher. His son also co-starred on the Pawn Stars show. Rick Harrison Sr. updated his will in 2017.
In the update, he expressly cut out Christopher from his will. He never gave a reason for cutting him from his inheritance—which would have been sizable, considering that Harrison’s net worth was $8 million. Rick Jr., his executor, gave no reason either.
32. MacKenzie Bezos
Known as: Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife
Net Worth: $36.8 billion*
MacKenzie Bezos is one of the richest women in the world. The source of her billions is primarily from divorce. She was married to Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder of the e-commerce giant, Amazon, Inc. MacKenzie and Jeff separated after twenty-five years of marriage together. They also had four kids.
MacKenzie was granted a 4% stake in Amazon, and that fraction was worth nearly $40 billion. Jeff and MacKenzie did not have a prenup. MacKenzie was cut out of Bezos’ will, and she did the same to him. They officially finalized their divorce in April of 2019.
33. Glen Campbell
Known as: “Rhinestone Cowboy” singer
Net Worth: $410,000*
Singer and actor Glen Campbell was famous for his song “Rhinestone Cowboy”, among many other hits in the 60s and 70s. He also had a variety show, titled The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, which he hosted on CBS from 1969 until 1972.
He and his wife, Kimberly, were married from 1982 until his death in 2017. Campbell left behind a sizable estate of nearly half a million. In his will, there was a provision that disinherited his children if they attempted to contest it, which they did. Ultimately, the three children were cut out.
34. Donatella Versace
Known as: Head of Versace
Net Worth: $200 million*
Born in Italy, Donatella Versace is the head of Versace, one of the most famous luxury fashion brands in the world. She is worth around $200 million. Donatella has two kids, Allegra and Daniel. Her daughter, Allegra, inherited a considerable sum from her uncle, Gianni Versace, after he was murdered.
Gianni left Allegra half of his empire, which reportedly stunned the young heiress, who is now worth $800 million. Gianni’s partner was disinherited from his will, despite the two having been together for fifteen years. The House of Versace managed to survive Gianni’s tragic death thanks to his sister.
35. Andrew Carnegie
Known as: Head of the 19th-century steel industry
Net Worth: $372 billion*
Andrew Carnegie was a steel magnate who expanded the US steel industry during the late 1800s. He also was a dedicated philanthropist in the UK and the US. He was one of the richest Americans in the history of the country. Carnegie’s net worth, in today’s dollars, is estimated at over $372 billion.
Carnegie, despite his massive wealth, did not leave it all to his kids. He cut his kids out of a large portion of their inheritance, choosing instead to give his money to charity. One publication described Carnegie as having gone from Robber Baron to Robin Hood in his old age.
36. Maurice Laboz
Known as: President of Regal Real Estate
Net Worth: $20 million*
Maurice Laboz died in 2015, and he was known for being the head of Regal Real Estate. The late landlord left his two daughters, Marlena and Victoria, an inheritance of $20 million. However, that inheritance was conditioned on some very stringent terms and specific life choices.
The landlord’s daughters would inherit if they were married and did not have any children out of wedlock. Similar terms and conditions followed. The story was picked up by the local news after Laboz’s death. Laboz’s money will be disbursed as his daughters’ meet his terms and conditions. However, they will lose the money if they break his rules.
37. Larry Page
Known as: Co-founder of Google, Inc.
Net Worth: $60.7 billion*
Larry Page was the co-founder of Google and the CEO of Alphabet for years. He recently retired in December of 2019, choosing to spend more time with his family. His net worth is over $60 billion. He and his wife, Lucinda, have been married since 2007. The computer scientist is also a father of two.
Page is also a philanthropist and someone with reportedly solid morals. He stopped talking to his Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, after he found emails between Brin and a younger employee on Brin’s computer that he disapproved of. Brin later divorced his wife after the emails were exposed.
38. Davina McCall
Known as: Presenter of “Big Brother”
Net Worth: $4 million*
Davina McCall was the presenter for Big Brother on Channel 4 from 2000 until 2010. The Londoner was married to Matthew Robertson until 2017, and the two had three children together: Holly, Till, and Chester. McCall also was briefly married before Matthew, but she and her ex-spouse had no kids.
McCall decided not to leave her kids any money in her will because she wanted them to learn to be appreciative. She stated that she would rather leave her kids “a curse” than “the almighty dollar.” McCall, who has become a fitness model, has a net worth of several million dollars.
39. Stieg Larsson
Known as: Author of the Millennium trilogy
Net Worth: $50 million*
Stieg Larsson is the author of the Millennium trilogy, a series of crime novels beginning with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The Millennium novels were later the inspiration for a movie starring Rooney Mara. While Larsson had no kids, it was his partner of many years who did not inherit anything.
His ex-partner, Eva Gabrielsson, wrote a memoir detailing her struggle with having to prove their relationship to the government. She was never allowed to inherit Larsson’s fortune, despite their years together, because Stieg died intestate. His novels have sold around 55 million copies.
40. Aretha Franklin
Known as: Gospel/R&B singer
Net Worth: $80 million*
Aretha Franklin was a famous singer and songwriter who was nicknamed “The Queen of Soul.” She started her career when she was just a child, singing gospel songs at her Baptist Church in Michigan. Her father was a minister there. Aretha was born in 1942, and she died at the age of 76 years old in 2018.
Aretha had four kids: Teddy, Kecalf, Clarence, and Edward. Aretha left her piano and her papers to her kids, but nothing else. Apparently, she had written three wills, which were found in various places through her home. She disinherited her eldest son, Clarence, who she had when she was twelve.
41. John Denver
Known as: “Take Me Home Country Roads” singer
Net Worth: $60 million*
John Denver was a singer and philanthropist who founded the charity called The World Hunger Project. He was dedicated to environmental causes, and he sang “Take Me Home Country Roads” at The Wildlife Concert in one of his most memorable performances. Denver died in a plane crash in 1997.
He had three kids, Jesse Belle, Zachary, and Anna Kate. He also adopted two children. He ended up disinheriting his ex-wives, of which there were two. The singer and guitar player, who was born Henry Deutschendorf, Jr., was also a former member of the band Peter, Paul, and Mary.
42. Chuck Feeney
Known as: Atlantic Philanthropies founder
Net Worth: $7.5 billion*
Chuck Feeney was born in New Jersey in 1931. He became wealthy from his company Duty-Free Shoppers, which was the first company of its kind to introduce the concept of duty-free retail. Feeney married his wife, Helga, in 1995, and the two had five children: Juliette, Leslie, Diane, Caroleen, and Patrick.
The Irish-American magnate is also the founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies, a large charitable foundation. He has decided to try to “go broke,” giving away his billions to charity, as opposed to leaving it to his kids. He has given away a majority of his fortune so far.
43. Steve McNair
Known as: Former NFL player
Net Worth: $26 million*
Steve McNair was the 2003 NFL MVP. He had the nickname “Air McNair,” and he was one of the most celebrated quarterbacks in the NFL when he played for the Oilers, Titans, and Ravens. He was born in 1973 and died in Nashville in 2009. He was married to his spouse, Mechelle, until 2009.
He was tragically and unexpectedly killed by Jenni Kazemi, his girlfriend. He and his wife had not divorced, so his estate went to her. Mechelle was the mother of two children. McNair had a fortune of over $20 million amassed from his NFL career.
44. Bob Marley
Known as: Singer/songwriter
Net Worth: $130 million*
Bob Marley died at the age of thirty-six in Miami, Florida. The Jamaica native was one of the most famous reggae singers in the world, and his tragic death from skin cancer was an unexpected end to a career that spanned from 1962 until 1981. Marley had eleven kids and a net worth of $130 million.
After his death, his estate became the subject of many familial disputes. Marley never created a will, as his Rastafarian faith banned him from recognizing his own mortality (which a last will and testament would certainly do). To this day, disputes over his estate remain.
45. Heath Ledger
Known as: “Dark Knight” actor
Net Worth: $16 million*
Actor Heath Ledger was born in 1979. He died unexpectedly in New York City in 2008. The actor was the first person to ever win a posthumous Oscar for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Ledger left behind a daughter, who he had with his former partner, Michelle Williams.
His two-year-old daughter, Matilda, inherited his entire estate after he left her no money in his will (as his death was a shock, he had not updated it to reflect her birth). His family donated the money to her, despite protests from two of his uncles.
46. Sam Cooke
Known as: The King of Soul
Net Worth: $98 million*
Sam Cooke was a singer-songwriter who was born in 1931. He was named “The King of Soul” for his contributions to music. He was married to Barbara Campbell until his unexpected death in Los Angeles, California, in 1964.
Cooke had had six children in total, but one of his sons died suddenly at just eighteen months old after a tragic drowning incident. After Cooke’s death, it was discovered that he had three kids outside of his marriage, which sparked a huge debate. In the end, each of his five kids got smaller than expected shares of his estate.
47. Peter Brock
Known as: Racecar driver/”King of the Mountain”
Net Worth: $200,000*
Race car driver Peter Brock was nicknamed “The King of the Mountain,” as he was one of the most successful race car drivers in Australia. He was also a published author. Brock was born in 1945 in Richmond, Australia, and was married to Bev McIntosh from 1975 until 2005. Unfortunately, he died in a fatal accident in 2006.
Brock had thirty-seven wins throughout his career, and his vast fortune was amassed as a result of product endorsements. A judge ruled that Brock’s girlfriend at the time of his death would be cut out of the will, leaving his estate to his marital children only.
48. Anthony Hopkins
Known as: “Silence of the Lambs” actor
Net Worth: $160 million*
Anthony Hopkins is an actor who is best known for his role as Hannibal Lecter in the Silence of the Lambs. Hopkins and his former wife, Petronella Barker, had a daughter together named Abigail. In a 2018 interview, Hopkins revealed that he and his daughter had not spoken in twenty years.
Though they briefly reconciled in the nineties, they are now back to bitter animosity, with Hopkins saying he “didn’t care” if he was a grandfather. Hopkins stated that he can’t “waste time” on his daughter, who he walked out on when she was just a toddler.
49. Nancy Dow
Known as: Actress/mother of Jennifer Aniston
Net Worth: $3 million*
Actress Nancy Dow was married to actor John Aniston, with whom she had a daughter, Jennifer. Nancy and Jennifer were reportedly estranged for nine years, up until Nancy’s death. Jennifer and Nancy did not speak as a result of a book Nancy wrote about her and her daughter’s relationship, titled “From Mother and Daughter to Friends.”
The memoir, written in 1999, did not portray Jen Aniston in a very welcoming light. Though they briefly reconciled after Aniston’s divorce from actor Brad Pitt, the two fell back into their estrangement. Aniston said the feud revolved around the fact that she (Jen) was not a “model child.”
50. Sonny Bono
Known as: Singer/Ex-husband of Cher
Net Worth: $4 million*
Cher and Sonny Bono were married for several years until they had a falling out. The two had several kids together, including their son Chaz Bono. Sonny died unexpectedly after a skiing accident at the age of sixty-two in 1998. He crashed headfirst into a tree, and he was not wearing a helmet at the time.
Chaz and Sonny were estranged when Sonny died. Chaz was estranged from his mother as well, but the two were able to reconcile. Part of the reason Sonny and Chaz were estranged was reportedly because of Sonny’s connection to the Church of Scientology.
51. Paul Shane
Known as: “Hi-de-hi!” actor
Net Worth: $100,000*
Comedian Paul Shane was best-known for his role on Hi-de-Hi!, a TV show on which he portrayed Ted Bovis. He was born in 1940 and died in 2013. The British comedian was married to Dory Speight from 1961 until 2001, and the two had three children: Andrea, Janice, and Gillian.
Shane also had six grandchildren. The 80s sitcom star suffered from illness, and he died surrounded by family at a hospice center in South Yorkshire. Shane’s death came four years after he received emergency heart surgery. His ex-wife was disinherited from his will.
52. Abraham Lincoln
Known as: Former US President
Net Worth: >$0*
Abraham Lincoln is one of the most famous presidents in US history, and he is known for passing legislation to outlaw slavery. He brought the US through the Civil War, heading the Union. His presidency began in 1861, with the war breaking out in 1862.
Today, we are used to presidents being wealthy. However, Lincoln does not fit that mold. Despite being one of the most well-liked presidents, he was one of the poorest, with debts that sank his net worth into the negatives. He wrote his last will and testament himself, leaving property instead of cash to his heirs.
53. Barry White
Known as: Singer/songwriter
Net Worth: $20 million*
Barry White was a record producer and singer-songwriter who was born in Galveston, Texas, in 1944. When White passed away in 2003, he was cremated, and his ashes were scattered off the Californian Coast into the Pacific Ocean, as per his wishes. White was a father of five kids, who he had with his spouse, Glodean.
He and Glodean were married from 1974 until 2003. Conflict broke out between one of White’s sons, Darryl, and Glodean. Darryl was disinherited, which he contested, and the lawsuit is still ongoing today.
54. Ryan O’Neal
Known as: Peyton Place actor
Net Worth: $15 million*
Actor Ryan O’Neal launched his career based on his role in the soap opera Peyton Place. He was in a long-term relationship with Farrah Fawcett, and he was married twice before. He has described himself as a “hopeless father.” He is estranged from two of his kids: Tatum and Griffin.
He claimed in a 2011 interview with ABC News that Oprah Winfrey was to blame, as she had the family on the show to talk about their differences. The show didn’t work, and O’Neal stated that he and his disinherited kids are even more at odds than ever.
55. Howard Hughes
Known as: Film producer
Net Worth: $6.6 billion*
Business magnate Howard Hughes was worth $1.5 billion when he died, which is the equivalent of $6.6 billion in today’s dollars. He was born in 1905 and died in 1976. At one point, he was worth 1/1109th of the entire US Gross National Product. Hughes was a famous movie producer, as well as a pilot and real estate developer.
Hughes disinherited several relatives. After his death, a written will was discovered that was kept by the Church of Mormon. The will itself was bare-bones, but it managed to disinherit pretty much half of Hughes’ family, a surprising move even for the eccentric businessman.
56. Bill Hudson
Known as: Member of The Hudson Brothers band
Net Worth: $5 million*
Bill Hudson was a member of The Hudson Brothers, a band he formed in the mid-sixties with his brothers, Mark and Brett. Bill was the lead singer. The band toured together from 1965 until 1981 when Hudson retired. He also is a published author, writing the book 2 Versions.
He was married to Goldie Hawn from 1976 until 1982, and he had several kids, including actress Kate Hudson. He and Kate Hudson are estranged. While Bill says that they are “trying” to put the relationship back together, it has not happened thus far. He did reconcile with Kate’s brother, Oliver.
57. James Brown
Known as: “Godfather of Soul”
Net Worth: $100 million*
Singer James Brown is considered the “Godfather of Soul” or the “King of Soul.” The singer-songwriter was born in 1933 and died in 2006. The funk and R&B singer had between nine and thirteen children. Nine were confirmed, while four others claimed he was their father outside of marriage.
Brown left two million dollars to his kids, but he did not leave that money to all of them. He disinherited seven of the thirteen, including his five-year-old (and youngest) son, James Jr. He also disinherited James Jr.’s mother, Hynie, who worked as a backup singer for him.
58. Nate Dogg
Known as: Rapper/Frequent Eminem collaborator
Net Worth: $1.5 million*
Nate Dogg was a rapper and songwriter. Born Nathaniel Hale, he got his start in music as part of 213, a rap trio that also featured Snoop Dogg and Warren G. Nate Dogg died in 2011 after suffering several strokes in the years leading up to his death. The rapper’s age at the time of his death was 41.
He died intestate, which means without a will. His money did not go to his kids; instead, it went to his estranged wife. His family fought over the $1.5 million estate, with his kids stating that they did not want their grandmother or stepmother to be the executrix.
59. Marvin Gaye
Known as: “Prince of Motown”
Net Worth: $5 million*
Marvin Gaye was a singer/songwriter who died tragically and unexpectedly at the hands of his father in 1984. He became popular as a session guitarist before he became a solo artist. He helped shape Motown in the sixties, which earned him the nickname, “Prince of Motown”.
He was born in 1939, and he was married twice: once to Jan Gaye and once to Anna Gordy Gaye. He had three kids: Nona, Marvin III, and Frankie. He died without a will. His son, Marvin III, was the administrator of his estate. Gaye left behind no money, as he had mounting debts.
60. Pablo Picasso
Known as: Famous painter
Net Worth: $500 million*
Painter Pablo Picasso was born in 1881 in Malaga, Spain. He died in Mougins, France, in 1973. He is one of the most famous painters in history, and he is known for his cubism, expressionism, and surrealism styles. The 92-year-old was also a sculptor, ceramics-maker, and printmaker, as well as an author.
His net worth was $500 million, thanks to the sales of his paintings. His estate was the subject of an intense battle between his daughters, Claude and Paloma, and his widow. Picasso’s widow took the majority of his estate. His daughter, Maya, inherited his unpublished works.