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With a net worth of roughly $70 billion dollars, Warren Buffet has very strong opinions about what he wants to happen with his fortune after he's gone.
It's widely known that he intends to bequeath the majority of his wealth to charity, namely the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (In fact, he's already gifted billions of dollars worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the organization.)
And Buffet is not alone. He is one of approximately 150 other wealthy individuals and families who have signed what's known as The Giving Pledge - a commitment to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.
In 2013, Buffet, a father of three, told his shareholders, “I do think that if you’re very wealthy...the money has far more utility to society than to create a situation where your kids don’t have to do anything in life except call a trust officer once a year and tell him how much money they want.”
He has also been quoted as saying that he plans to leave his children “enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.”
Of course, passing on wealth (whether to family or charity or both) is complicated and requires a fair amount of due diligence. This is why Buffett has been vocal about the importance of estate plans and makes it a point to make sure that his is reviewed and updated regularly.
It goes without saying that the majority of people in this world will not die with billions of dollars in assets or the luxury to leave a significant amount of wealth to charity. However, estate planning is not just for the Buffets' or Gates' of the world. Everyone, regardless of the value of their assets, should have an estate plan in place. It is the only way to ensure that your assets, however much, are designated in the manner in which you intend.
If you or a loved one have been putting off planning, or have an existing plan that could be outdated, please call us to make an appointment. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your individual needs and how we can help. We have attorneys licensed to practice in New York and Florida in addition to Maryland, D.C. and Virginia and we have four office locations in Columbia, Rockville, D.C., and Tyson's Corner for your convenience.