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Billionaires make bold pledge to donate half their fortune

There is a common belief that with more money comes fewer worries. While this may be true when it comes to more common concerns like paying the bills or buying a house, it is not to say that wealthy people do not have their own financial obstacles. People in and around Boston who are very wealthy may have difficult decisions to make when it comes to what they would like to happen with their money now and after they have passed on.

Recently, a number of billionaires across the United States and in other countries have made a unique pledge to a charity organization called The Giving Pledge. More than 100 people and families have signed a pledge to give away about half of their total wealth to various charities during their lifetime.

The pledge is not legally binding and is referred to as a moral contract. But with their pledge, billionaires like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warrant Buffett and Richard Branson will focus on donating 50 percent of their wealth in ways that they see fit. They are reportedly taking more control over how their vast wealth is distributed to charity and philanthropic efforts.

Some people are likely wondering why these folks would give away such enormous amounts of money, especially those who have children and grandchildren. Many of the people on the list would like to be regarded as a philanthropist and make sure their money is being invested in ways they see fit. After a person is gone, his or her money may continue to benefit others through charitable gifts.

When it comes to the level of wealth of the people participating in the Giving Pledge, there may also be such a thing as too much money. One media mogul stated that he would like give away half of his wealth because simply giving it to his children would rob them of the sense of motivation and achievement. Leaving all his money to his children would burden them, he says, with the weight of the enormous wealth.

No matter what a person decides to do with his or her money and assets, it is crucial to plan ahead. Whether a person's estate is significant or modest, making sure that the terms of an estate plan are executed properly can be important for everyone.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Gates, Buffett Giving Pledge Gets Richard Branson, 11 Overseas Billionaires To Donate Half Fortune," Jessica Prois, Feb. 20, 2013

  • Our Massachusetts law firm helps people who are looking to preserve wealth and estate assets of all sizes. For more information on this topic, please visit our page on estate planning.

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