Musician Sting performs during the 44th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony in New York June 13, 2013.
Carlo Allegri—Reuters
By Srividya Kalyanaraman
June 24, 2014
Sting doesn't want his money to be "albatrosses" around his kids' necks.
Carlo Allegri—Reuters

So much for fields of gold. Looks like the six children of pop singer Sting won’t be getting much out of their old man, whose estimated worth has been placed at around $300 million.

The 62-year-old musician didn’t put this message in a bottle: He told the press. In an interview published this past weekend in England’s Mail on Sunday newspaper, Sting—f.k.a. Gordon Sumner—explained that he wasn’t planning on leaving any trust funds for his progeny. “I told them there won’t be much money left because we are spending it,” the paper reported him saying.

Beyond explaining that much of his money is already committed, the former Police frontman also said he wouldn’t want an inheritance to be “albatrosses round their necks.”

“Obviously, if they were in trouble I would help them,” he added. “But I’ve never really had to do that. They have the work ethic that makes them want to succeed on their own merit.”

He’s not the only celebrity who has decided against giving his entire fortune to his kids. Below are 10 other boldface names who’ve either said they’ll write their kids out of their wills or give them only a small slice of their very big pies. (Many of these folks are disinheriting their kids for humanitarian reasons.)

Of course, you don’t have to have mega-bucks to be concerned about how your kids will handle an inheritance. A fairly recent survey from WealthCounsel found that 35% of people are crafting their estate plans to avoid mismanagement of money by their heirs. But if that’s your worry, keep in mind that there are things you can do to ensure that your kid doesn’t squander your hard-earned funds.


Bill Gates

Bill Gates
Lucas Jackson—Reuters

Estimated net worth: $78.6 billion

On a Reddit “Ask Me Anything,” the Microsoft founder said that he thinks leaving his kids massive amounts of money would be no favor to them. Inspired by Warren Buffett, he plans to leave the vast majority of his fortune to charity—he has his own, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With Buffett, he has has encouraged other billionaires to give away their wealth.


Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett
Lucas Jackson—Reuters

Estimated net worth: $65.1 billion

The Berkshire Hathaway boss man hasn’t been shy about his distaste for leaving an inheritance to his family members. “I’m not an enthusiast for dynastic wealth, particularly when 6 billion others have much poorer hands than we do in life,” he reportedly said at a 2006 event following his announcement to donate the vast majority of his fortune. Since then, Buffett has pledged to give away a full 99% of his money to charity, and has encouraged other billionaires to give away at least 50% of their wealth through The Giving Pledge.


Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg
Carlo Allegri—Reuters

Estimated net worth: $34 billion

The former Mayor of New York City, who made his fortune as owner of the financial information company that bears his name and who has two daughters in their 30s, signed Buffett’s and Gates’s Giving Pledge. In his letter, he said, “If you want to do something for your children and show how much you love them, the single best thing—by far—is to support organizations that will create a better world for them and their children.” The Bloomberg Philanthropic Foundation donates to various causes, ranging from health care to literacy.


Pierre Omdiyar

Pierre Omidyar
Tim Shaffer—Reuters

Estimated net worth: $7.6 billion

The eBay founder and father of three stated in 2001 that he and his wife would give away the vast majority of their wealth during their lives. “We have more money than our family will ever need,” he has written. “There’s no need to hold onto it when it can be put to use today, to help solve some of the world’s most intractable problems.” He and his wife started the Humanity United Foundation which supports anti-slavery nonprofits.


George Lucas

George Lucas
Jean-Paul Pelissier—Reuters

Estimated net worth: $4.9 billion

After selling the Star Wars franchise to Disney for $4.5 billion in 2012, George Lucas—father to four—said that the proceeds from the sale would be donated towards improving education. That echoed his commitment to give up the majority of his wealth in his 2012 Giving Pledge letter: “As long as I have the resources at my disposal, I will seek to raise the bar for future generations of students of all ages.”


Ted Turner

Ted Turner
Phil McCarten—Reuters

Estimated net worth: $2.2 billion

In 1990, Turner set up the Turner Foundation, which gives grants on environmental causes, as a family foundation so that his children could also be involved in charitable work. He then launched the United Nations Foundation with an initial pledge of $1 billion back in 1997. The media mogul writes, “At the time of my death, virtually all my wealth will have gone to charity.”


Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell
Mario Anzuoni—Reuters

Estimated net worth: $500 million

Last year, the X Factor judge and music mogul, who has a 16-month-old son, told the press that he doesn’t believe in passing on wealth from one generation to another. Rather, he plans to leave his money to charity, likely benefiting “kids and dogs.”


Kevin O’Leary

Kevin O'Leary
Gus Ruelas—Reuters

Estimated net worth: $300 million

The Canadian businessman and investor, known for being a judge on the ABC series Shark Tank, said in an interview that he isn’t planning on passing any wealth on to his kids. “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?” he said. “Fear motivated me, and it will motivate them.” He said that once they’re educated, he’ll kick his kids out of the nest, though he says he will set up generation-skipping trusts for his grandkids and great grandkids.


Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan
Eric Gaillard—Reuters

Estimated net worth: $140 million

The 60-year-old actor has said that he will leave his wealth to charity, and none of it to his son. “He can make his own money,” he reportedly told the press. Chan is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, campaigns against animal abuse and started the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation, which supports education and disaster relief.


Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson
Stefan Wermuth—Reuters

Estimated net worth: $15 million

The celebrity chef, who divorced advertising tycoon Charles Saatchi last year, reportedly told the British magazine My Weekly that once her kids finish college, they will have to work and support themselves. “I am determined that my children should have no financial security,” she was quoted as saying. “It ruins people not having to earn money.” But she denies that they’ll be cut out of her will entirely, saying she has no plans to leave them destitute and starving.

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