Anderson Cooper and the Reality of Disinheriting Family Members

Cary, NC Estate Planning Lawyer

Cary, NC Estate Planning Lawyer

Anderson Cooper - CNN personality/pundit and the son of Gloria Vanderbilt - recently disclosed that he will not receive an inheritance from his mother, and he wouldn't have it any other way. 

Gloria Vanderbilt is the great-great-great granddaughter of shipping tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt. Her fourth marriage was to writer Wyatt Cooper, Anderson's father, who passed away in 1978. Her estate will likely consist of somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million in value. 

While Cooper grew up with a life of great privilege, his parents told him from a very young age that he wouldn't receive an inheritance. Not because his parents didn't love him (or like him, for that matter), but because they didn't want an expectation of future wealth to prohibit Cooper's personal and professional growth. According to Cooper, "I think my mom and dad both wanted to get across to me that ... it would be up to me to make a living." 

And that he did. Cooper currently makes $11 million a year from CNN. 

So, what happens to Gloria's estate? Well, there are a couple of options:

1. Spread it Among Her Sons

Gloria has two other sons, Stan and Chris Stokowski, who have likely been much less successful (monetarily) than Cooper. Perhaps she'll split her estate among Stan and Chris.

2. Everything to Charity

Perhaps Gloria wants to take the Bill and Melinda Gates route: cut the kids out and leave it all to charity. There are a variety of ways to make this happen - it's just a matter of whether Gloria wants to shut down the Vanderbilt Dynasty, or at least her arm of it, or continue it on through the next generation. 

Long story short: disinheriting your family members does not have to be a mean and ugly act. Sometimes, it's in their best interest.