While divorce, though sad for a couple, is usually run of the mill, one particular split hit the headlines last week when Bill and Melinda Gates announced theirs. What will this mean for their children’s inheritance?

Bill and Melinda Gates are among the world’s richest couples. They met in the 1980s and married in 1994 and are said to be worth $130 billion (£93 billion), making Bill Gates the fourth richest person in the world.

Announcing their split on Twitter, Bill Gates said they had made the decision to end their marriage because they could no longer “grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives”.

$70 million to fight Covid-19

They have both vowed to continue with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has provided vast sums of money for global health and disease prevention, including considerable donations to the fight against Covid-19. In November 2020, the foundation announced that it would commit $70 million to global efforts to develop and distribute safe and affordable vaccines for low and middle income countries.

While Bill and Melinda are famous for their foundation, another note-worthy point is that Bill Gates is part of a group of uber-rich individuals who have vowed to give at least half of their wealth to charity over their lifetimes.

In 2010, Bill and Melinda Gates started The Giving Pledge with friend and billionaire Warren Buffet, as they regard it as a ‘basic responsibility’ for anyone who has a lot of money. As of August 2020, The Giving Pledge had 211 signatories from 23 countries whose pledges are thought to total $600 billion.

Accumulated, rather than lost wealth

However, the group does come in for criticism because none of the signees have yet managed to give away half their wealth and have instead accumulated more of it.

The Gates have three children, Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18. The Gates have made a concerted effort to keep their children out of the spotlight. The three will receive ‘only’ $10 million (just over £7.1 million from their parents).

In a TV interview in 2017, Bill Gates told the interviewer he did not think it was favour to kids to give them huge sums of money, as “it distorts anything they might do creating their own path”.

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