Oh, Mother! Famous Moms Who Disinherited Their Kids

May 10, 2023

Moms make us eat food we hate, do chores that exhaust us, and wear clothes that are so, so uncool. Why? Because they hate us? Of course not. Because they love us and know all these and other painful things will make us better, more productive people. You may not have understood when your mother did this, but she was right.

Some of the world’s wealthiest mothers have decided that holding back the family fortune is good for them. Here are five famous moms who refused to spoil their children with big inheritances. They have done their children a big favor, even if the kids do not quite see it that way.

1.) Bette Davis

What ever happened to all the star’s money after she died? Most of it went to her son and a close friend. Her two daughters and two grandsons did not see a penny.

The legendary star of such movies as “All About Eve,” “Jezebel,” and “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” left an estate of almost $1 million when she died in October 1989. Her Last Will and Testament (“Will”) stated she was cutting out most of her family “intentionally and with full knowledge.”

In the case of daughter Barbara Davis “B.D.” Hyman, Davis may have figured her daughter did not need the money. Two years before her mother’s death, Hyman had written a best-selling tell-all book calling her “an abusive, domineering and hateful mother” and “a grotesque alcoholic,” among other terms of unendearment.

 2.) Mila Kunis 

She starred in “Bad Moms,” but her decision to insist her children earn their own riches makes her a pretty good one. Kunis and her husband, fellow actor and venture capitalist Ashton Kutcher, plan to leave their money to charity rather than to their two children. Kutcher has said he does not want to perpetuate the life of unearned privilege that their children enjoy.

The Hollywood power couple, who first met on the set of the hit sitcom “That ’70s Show,” reportedly have amassed a fortune valued at a cool $275 million. Kunis is said to be worth some $75 million in earnings related to her work on various TV and movie projects, which also include voicing the character of Meg on “Family Guy.”

Kutcher has said he will invest if one of their children starts a business that has a good plan, but he and Kunis want their children to earn whatever money they get – as their parents did.

 3.) Marie Osmond

Her $20 million estate puts her among Hollywood’s wealthiest celebrities, but Osmond’s seven children will have to earn their way onto a “richest” list. The singer announced on her TV talk show in 2020 that she and her husband will not leave their money to the children.

Osmond is best known for starring with her brother Donny Osmond in the singing duo Donny & Marie. She told her TV audience it hurts children when their parents “just hand them a fortune.” Osmond said withholding a huge estate gives them “the one most important gift you can give your children, and that’s the ability to work.”

4.) Laurene Powell Jobs

Her husband, tech genius Steve Jobs, left her billions of dollars’ worth of Apple and Disney stocks when he died in 2011. But the widow Jobs has announced that she does not intend to leave any of that to her children. Instead, she plans to leave everything to charity.

It is what their dad would have wanted, she said.

She explained that Steve Jobs did not believe in accumulating wealth, and neither does she. She is using the money she inherited to invest in sports and media companies and to support political causes she believes in. “I’m not interested in legacy wealth buildings, and my children know that,” she told an interviewer. “If I live long enough, it ends with me.”

5.) MacKenzie Scott

The former wife of media mogul Jeff Bezos got an eye-popping $35 billion when she divorced him in 2019, but their four children will not get any of it. Scott is giving it all away to charity – all of it.

So far, she has donated $2.74 billion to 286 organizations and has signed the Giving Pledge, a campaign founded by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett that encourages rich people to leave most of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

Scott and Bezos had been married for 25 years when they split. Bezos founded Amazon in 1994, one year after they were married; Scott was one of its first employees.

“My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful,” Scott wrote in a blog post. “It will take time and effort and care. But I won’t wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty.”

Taking Care of Mom and Her Money

No matter how you feel about your children and money, the one person you should cut out of your Will is Uncle Sam. The only way to keep your assets out of probate court upon your death is with proper estate planning.  To learn how you or your mom can set up your estate so it is divided the way you wish (and not how Florida Law thinks it should be divided), contact us for a free consultation at (954) 251-0332 or info@ocestatelawyers.com. We speak English, Spanish, and Russian. Happy Mother’s Day!