Melinda Gates May Want To Leave Children With More Inheritance Following Divorce: Report

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Melinda and Bill Gates are seen at the Congress Center during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos in 2015
Melinda and Bill Gates are seen at the Congress Center during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos in 2015

Melinda Gates may not have agreed with her estranged husband Bill Gates' plan to only leave their children with a $10 million inheritance each.

Earlier this month, the Microsoft founder and his wife, Melinda, announced that they were separating after 27 years of marriage. Divorce experts has since noticed that she is angling to change their children's inheritance following their split.

Melinda has taken the unusual step of hiring trust and estate lawyers as her representatives in her divorce filing. High-profile divorce attorneys Harriet Newman Cohen and Martha Cohen Stine pointed out that she has "well-known trust and estate lawyers involved in the case" and that it's "most unusual for trust and estate lawyers’ names to be listed on a divorce filing." They believed that her move signified a potential difference from what Bill has planned for their family’s inheritance.

"Bill Gates proudly announced to the world he was leaving $10 million to each of his three children, and that the rest of the billions will be left to charity … now that Melinda has control — maybe she wanted to leave more to her children than $10 million each. Maybe she didn’t agree," Newman Cohen said. 

She added that perhaps Melinda felt that giving their kids only a fraction of funds is "tantamount to disinheriting the children." "We see divorces for the reason that the mother wants to protect the children. She may be like every other woman … protecting her children," she added.

Newman Cohen and Cohen Stine also believed that Melinda's move of divorcing Bill and potentially changing their children's inheritance follows a trajectory of female empowerment that she already expressed in her 2019 book "The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World."

"Melinda’s decision to leave her husband — she’s the petitioner — doesn’t seem like a coincidence [given] that her youngest child turned 18," the pair said.

"Gaining control in her share of the fortune, and coming out from under Bill’s shadow [is] the ultimate step for empowerment … The book talks about … themes of women’s empowerment. To me the ultimate step toward her own empowerment is divorcing her husband," Newman Cohen added.

In Melinda's book, she shared a confrontation she had with Bill over writing the annual letter for their foundation. Apparently, she wanted to be involved and her husband agreed but had her write a separate piece on contraception while he wrote the letter. After two years, they both signed the letter with their names.

"He’s had to learn how to be an equal, and I’ve had to learn how to step up and be an equal," Melinda wrote.

There were speculations that Zhe "Shelly" Wang was involved in Bill and Melinda's divorce. Wang, who works as an interpreter for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, denied the allegations on the social media site Weibo.

"I thought that the rumors would go away by themselves, but I did not expect the rumors to become more and more crazily spread," she wrote. "How many books can I read, so why spend time on the unfounded rumors? I would like to thank everyone for their concern and help in dispelling the rumors through private messages in the past 24 hours. #Gates divorce, some vicious people rumor to vilify an innocent Chinese girl."


Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce earlier this month after 27 years of marriage
Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce earlier this month after 27 years of marriage
Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / SCOTT OLSON

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