There are a few unexpected places that some stars wish their money will go to after they pass – sometimes to their family, sometimes to charity, and other times to much more interesting beneficiaries.
Richard Branson – money doesn’t buy you happiness
There’s no doubt that Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson, is living the good life and does not hold back when it comes to spending his fortune, $3.9 billion to be exact.
However, the self-made billionaire has also pledged to donate half of his money to charity and other philanthropic sources. He didn’t hide what he felt about money and happiness when he was quoted saying: “Family, friends, good health and the satisfaction that comes from making a positive difference are what really matters. Happily our children, who will be our principal heirs, agree with me on this.”
Marilyn Monroe – left her money to her acting coach
Marilyn Monroe, beauty icon and famed actress, was a troubled woman to say the least. While we all know that Marilyn had her demons, the world was very surprised to learn that upon her death, Marilyn left her family nothing of her fortune.
She opted to give almost everything she owned to her acting coach, Lee Strasberg. Everything that belonged to Monroe was kept in Lee’s basement until the day that he passed, in February 1982.
Robert Kardashian Sr. – a brutal reality for the Kardashians
The late patriarch of the famous Kardashian gang gained much recognition when he defended O. J. Simpson during his controversial trial in 1995.
The famous attorney and businessman, who had been married three times in his life, had four children with his first wife, Kris – Kim, Kourtney, Khloé, and Rob, who have become incredibly famous on their own with their famous reality show. However, as much as Robert has been mentioned positively throughout the reality show, the reality is that his children were left with nothing after his ex-wife had reportedly taken it all.
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis – their kids will have to figure it out
Many stars opt to leave their children out of their wills, especially when they want to encourage them to make it on their own.
On Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, Ashton Kutcher said he and Mila Kunis don’t plan to leave much to their children. “We’ll end up giving our money away to charity and to various things,” he explained. He stated if his kids ever wanted to start a business and had a solid business plan, he would invest in it – but they weren’t getting trust funds.
Anna Nicole Smith – left nothing for anyone
Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith made a lot of money ($474 million to be exact) from her marriage to businessman J. Howard Marshall II, who passed away in 1995, only 14 months after their union.
But sadly, when Anna Nicole passed away in 2007, a court ruled that her little daughter Dannielynn would never see that money. In the end, Anna passed away leaving nothing for anyone; except her legacy of outrageous behavior that is.
Paul Walker – his daughter will inherit his $25 million estate
The world was in complete shock when the gorgeous Fast & Furious star tragically lost his life in a car crash back in 2013. When he was only 40 years old he left a teenage daughter, an estate, and $25 millions behind.
Before his sudden death, Walker made a trust-based estate plan, luckily for her. Meadow Rain Walker was named the sole beneficiary in his will, and she was set to have her grandmother as her guardian.
George Michael – his godchildren will inherit a fortune
When the British music icon sadly passed away in 2016, he didn’t only shock the music world, but the entire world.
The singer was found dead on Christmas Day by his boyfriend at the time, Fadi Fawaz, at his Oxfordshire home. The star passed away without any heirs, and the ones that are due to inherit his $128 million are actually his godchildren. One of his godchildren is Spice Girls’ Geri Halliwell’s daughter.
Simon Cowell – dogs and kids foundations
The media mogul and talented producer, who is mostly recognized for his work on The X Factor and American Idol, is worth a whooping $570 million.
The British reality TV judge is used to living the high life and that includes traveling the world with his private jet and hopping from one home to another. However, Cowell has no intentions at passing this kind of lifestyle to his five-year-old son, Eric. Instead, he will leave his fortune for foundations that have children and dogs as their main focus.
Sting – will spend it all while still alive
The music legend who rose to fame in the late seventies with his rock band The Police has a net worth that is estimated at $400 million.
Sting doesn’t hide his love for leading a luxurious lifestyle and he even stated once that he is going to spend as much as he can while he’s alive, therefore he doesn’t expect much to be left for his six children. Now, that’s one way to look at your fortune.
Gene Simmons – his kids can Kiss the money away
Another rock n roll legend, the lead singer of Kiss is worth an estimated $350 million. The producer and now reality television star has stated many times that he believes his children should work for their money if they want to lead an extravagant lifestyle.
That being said, the singer decided he would only give a small amount of his fortune to his own flesh and blood.
Jimi Hendrix – the $80 million estate was left to his adopted sister
The legendary songwriter and performer wasn’t fortunate enough to have a will. He suddenly passed away at the age of 27, making him one of the iconic members of the 27 club.
After Hendrix’s death, his fortune was managed for twenty years by an attorney until the late singer’s dad stepped in and sued for his son’s music rights. Eventually, the famous estate that Hendrix owned, which was worth $80 million, was left to his dad’s adopted daughter. His fortune is now estimated at $175 million, which is a big cause for family feuds.
Gordon Ramsay – his four children will not get anything
The famous restaurateur and reality television chef and host has an incredible $160 million in his yummy bank account.
Gordon, who is known for not holding back when it comes to speaking his mind, has been very outspoken about the fact that his four children will not be getting a penny from his fortune. He said once in an interview: ‘It’s definitely not going to them, and that’s not in a mean way; it’s to not spoil them.’
Elton John – only a small portion for the boys
The iconic singer and songwriter married his long-time partner, David Furnish, in 2014 and by tying the knot with their two sons, Elijah and Zachary, present at the ceremony, they were officially a complete family.
The couple, who believe in good work ethic and in not letting your kids feel like they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, have stated that most of their wealth, which is estimated at $300 million, will be going to John’s charities.
Oprah Winfrey – $30 million to the dogs
The talk show queen and one of the most likable television personalities to ever host on the small screen, has a net worth that is estimated at almost $3 billion.
The legendary The Oprah Winfrey Show host has made a conscious decision not to have any more children after she lost her baby when she was a teenager. Oprah is known to be a huge dog lover, and she’s the owner of five dogs. That being said, most of her money will go to her foundations and a whooping $30 million will go to none other than her cute pooches.
Aaron Spelling – famous family feuds
The late television producer who was in charge of bringing Beverly Hills 90210 to the small screen and introducing the audience to the Walsh family, had a an estimated net worth of $600 million when he passed away.
Spelling is also the father of actress and reality star Tori Spelling, who has five children of her own. It’s no secret that there were family feuds over the producer’s multi-million fortune as he left all of his money to his wife, Candy. Tori and her brother, Randy, had only received $800,000 each.
Sean Connery – Bonding won’t help his son
Sean Connery, who is 89 years old these days, was the first actor to ever portray the iconic role of James Bond. At the time, he was one of the most successful and talented actors in Hollywood who had many important films under his belt.
The former Bond star was brought up when his family had literally nothing, and as a teenager he had to work hard just to earn $2 a week. For that reason, Connery promised that he would leave his only son, Sean, with literally nothing.
Amy Winehouse – her ex didn’t get a penny
When the overt singer tragically joined the 27 Club when she passed away in 2011, many rumors regarding who was expected to inherit her fortune started to circulate around that time.
Winehouse, who was married for two years to Blake Fielder-Civil prior to her death, actually took the initiative to change her will to ensure her ex won’t see a penny. Eventually, most of her money was left for her parents, who have used it mostly to keep her legacy alive and going.
Philip Seymour Hoffman – the kids got nothing
The late star and Academy Award winner, who lost his life in 2014, was a rich man at the time of his death.
The Hunger Games star, who had three children with his long-time partner, Mimi O’Donnell, reportedly didn’t like the idea of his children becoming ‘trust fund’ kids, and so he decided to leave his entire fortune of $35 million to the mother of his children.
Nigella Lawson – leaving her kids to fend for themselves
Nigella Lawson is known for being a celebrity chef. She comes from a very well off family in addition to her own money.
Nigella made her net worth of around $150 million through her television shows and cookbooks. Despite having such a net worth, Lawson is not planning on leaving her children with any of it as she believes that having money given to you will only ruin you. Nigella wants her children to earn their own impressive net fortune in this world and not be given it.
Bob Marley – an ugly battle over his fortune
The reggae sensation was a firm Rastafarian, and as part of the Jamaican movement’s beliefs, Marley did not prepare a will.
That decision didn’t turn out to be a smart one eventually, because when the singer sadly passed away in 1981 after battling cancer, his then wife took things into her own hands when she tried to forge the documents. This ugly battle over the singer’s fortune has been going on for years and his family has been trying to gain control over his assets and rights to his name.
Martin Luther King Jr.- his family sold him out
The civil rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner was taken from our world too soon at the age of 39. The activist who delivered the famous ‘I Have a Dream Speech’ did not leave a will and his estate was later taken care of by a for-profit organization.
His family was also in an on-going battle to win his fortune. The ugly battle caused them to sell all of his intellectual properties as well as his personal belongings.
Elizabeth Taylor – millions of dollars to charity
The legendary and classical actress who rose to fame in the 50s was not only known for being married eight times! She also was a very successful star with a net worth of $600 million at the time of her death, back in 2011.
It’s been reported that most of her money went to philanthropic causes near and dear to her heart. In turn, this left her family fighting over the actress’s estate as they only received a small portion of her fortune.
Prince – his siblings won the jackpot
Another music legend who sadly passed away in 2016 and shocked the world by his death was the talented singer, actor, and dancer, Prince.
The versatile performer was even named one of the most influential artists of the rock & roll era by Rolling Stone magazine. The singer had no written or documented will when he died and since he didn’t have any children, it was reported that his estate, estimated at $300 million, would be divided between all of his siblings and half-siblings.
Joan Crawford – her adopted children were left out
The Academy Award winning star who rose to fame in the 30s had apparently more dark secrets that you can expect of a classic actress in Hollywood.
The actress caused some major controversy when she left her two adopted kids out of her written will. When she died, her net worth was estimated at $2 million, and only her biological children inherited some of that sum of money – $77,000 each to be exact. Till this day, it’s still a mystery why her adopted children were not included in the will.
George Lucas – Star Wars creator will donate it all
The 75-year-old is in charge of the inconceivable success of the Star Wars franchise as well as the Indiana Jones one.
The filmmaker’s fortune is estimated at $5.4 billion, and just like his fellow philanthropists, Lucas also pledged to pass on a big part of his fortune to charity. He even wrote a letter in 2010 stating that most of his wealth will go to the improvement of education. Moreover, it was revealed that the $4 billion he had gotten from Disney would be donated and not split among his four children.
Jackie Chan – wants his son to work hard
The chinese born actor and martial arts professional literally made a career and a fortune out of his passion. Chan made it big in Hollywood all on his own and it took him some time to become the mega star that he is.
Due to the winding road that he has gone through to make his own money, the actor believes that his son should also work hard for his money, therefore he is planning on giving away his fortune to charity.
Steve McNair – his sons were almost left with nothing
The NFL player’s death shocked the football world in 2009. The former quarterback, who was also named Air McNair, was one of the most beloved players in the world.
McNair had reportedly no will left behind (perhaps because he was only 36 when he died) and therefore his two sons were almost at risk of not receiving anything of his $19 million fortune. Eventually, their court ruled that the money would be put in trust funds as they were still minors.
Andrew Lloyd Webber – mostly to art programs, the rest to his kids
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, famous for his works of composition in theater, is worth an estimated $1.2 billion (that’s with a B). Webber’s most well-known production is The Phantom of the Opera.
While Webber is a very wealthy man, he is planning on leaving most of his impressive fortune at the hands of art programs. He stated that he will not leave his family wanting but that the majority will be given away.
James Brown – left his family nothing, they went to court over it
Iconic musician James Brown passed away in 2006 as a result of congestive heart failure. When he passed away his net worth was around $100 million.
His family – seven children and fourth wife -, were livid to learn that James left them absolutely nothing, having stated in his last will and testament that the fortune was to go to underprivileged children in Georgia and South Carolina. The family went to court over the will, contesting the decision within.
Barry White – no will, his wife and girlfriend fought over his money
When legendary musician Barry White passed away back in 2003, he left behind a wife he was separated from, a girlfriend, and five children.
White did not leave behind a last will and testament, leaving his family to fight for his money, or more like his estranged wife and girlfriend to go at it. At the end of the day the courts ruled on behalf of White’s wife as she had legal say over his money and his girlfriend did not.
David Gest – left his money and collections to his attorney
We know David Gest best from his short marriage to Liza Minelli. However, Gest was a well-known music producer, television personality and comedian (when we weren’t looking).
When Gest passed away in 2016, he was worth around $10 million. Gest didn’t have a wife or children at the time of his death resulting in Gest leaving his money and expensive collection of memorabilia to his attorney, Edward Bearmann. Gest’s sister got jealous when she heard about that transaction and took Bearmann to court, to no avail of course.
Sara Blakely – the young billionaire joined the giving pledge
The founder and CEO of Spanx made billions from selling her intimate line of apparel to women across the world and making them feel empowered, almost like she does.
Blake focused her incredible success on philanthropy by helping homeless girls and women find jobs and integrate in society. Sara decided to join the famous giving pledge and donate a majority of her wealth to charity.
Alexander McQueen – left everything to his dogs
Renowned fashion designer Alexander McQueen shocked the fashion world when it was announced that he had ended his own life.
Demons were constantly on McQueens shoulders but the creative genius was very private about everything that had to do with his private life. After he died, most of his fortune was given to his beloved dogs! He had a bigger heart than he lead on after all.
Adam Yauch – no one could use his music or likeness in advertising
Adam Yauch, member of the Beastie Boys, was always very protective of his music and his privacy. When he passed away at the age of 48 in 2012, his last will and testament stated that no entity was allowed to use his music or his likeness to be a part of an advertising campaign.
That is a pretty specific and strange line in his will, especially since he wouldn’t be here to see it happen.
Sonny Bono – four wives and five children
In the case of the late singer, producer and politician, things could have gotten quite messy in terms of his estates being divided as Bono was married four times throughout his life.
His most famous marriage was to his second wife, Cher, who was also the other half of the Sonny and Cher duo. Since Bono never left a will, after he passed away at the age of 62, his estate, which was estimated at $2 million, was battled over for years. Eventually, his fortune was split between his five children.
Leona Helmsley – $12 million for her dog
Leona Helmsley wasn’t exactly known for being easy going, but she always demanded nothing but the very best for the Helmsley hotels’ guests.
When she passed away in 2007, she made headlines when she left her brother with $10 million, her grandchildren with $5 million, and her Maltese, Trouble – with $12 million. The sum was eventually reduced to $2 million, as the dog’s caretaker reportedly said it was enough to pay for Trouble’s maintenance for over 10 years.
Dusty Springfield – specific instructions for taking care of her cat
Dusty Springfield is one of the most well-known pop singers of the 1960s, and when the singer passed away, she left some very specific instructions regarding her cat, Nicholas.
She wanted to ensure the cat would be taken care of – specifically by being fed imported baby food, being sung to sleep with Dusty’s records, having her pillowcase and nightgown in his bed, and being married to one of her friends’ cat. The incredibly detailed requests were, of course, answered.
Janis Joplin – $2,500 for one last party
Rock singer Janis Joplin was wildly successful, but her hard partying lifestyle, combined with substance abuse issues, led to her untimely death at the age of only 27.
In her will, the singer requested to leave $2,500 in order to throw one last party for 200 guests, who got to say goodbye to the rock legend in a way that was fitting to her love of party. The celebration in her honor was held at her favorite pub, The Lion’s Share, in 1970.
Bob Fosse – left his friends money to go out to dinner
Bob Fosse was a dancer, director, writer, and actor – but he was mainly known for being a choreographer, receiving eight Tony Awards for his theater choreography.
When he passed away, he left $25,000 that were to be divided between 66 of his lucky friends (including Neil Simon, Dustin Hoffman, and Liza Minnelli), in order for them to go out and have dinner together in his honor. Just imagine the pressure of picking the restaurant for that dinner party…
Mark Gruenwald – requested to be part of a comic book
Mark Gruenwald was a writer and executive editor at Marvel, and was mostly known for writing comic books like Captain America.
The writer, who passed away at the early age of only 43, was so passionate about his work, that he made the most special request regarding it. He requested to be cremated and mixed with ink, to be used for printing a comic book. The surprising request was met, and his remains were used in the printing of the paperback edition of Squadron Supreme.
Harry Houdini – wanted his wife to have a yearly séance
Houdini was a legendary illusionist and master of escape, but he was also a big believer of spiritualism. In fact, his faith in the afterlife was so strong, that he requested in his will that his wife Bess held a séance every year, so he can come and visit her.
Not only that, but he left a secret ten-digit code to prove it was really him. Unfortunately, Bess said her husband never returned, but after she passed away, his fans took it upon themselves to continue the tradition.
Fred Baur – put to rest in a Pringles can
Fred Baur was an organic chemist and food storage technician who came up with the stacked Pringles potato chip packaging – for which he filed for a patent in the 1960s.
Fred was so attached to his packaging invention, that he actually requested to be cremated and have his ashes put inside a Pringles can. His family obliged, and buried some of his ashes inside a Pringles can, while some of his ashes was put in an urn and given to his grandchildren.
Sir Bruce Forsyth – left everything to his wife, nothing to his children
The late Price is Right presenter, Sir Bruce Forsyth, had a long television career spanning across decades. When he passed away at age 89, he left his entire $15.5 million fortune to his spouse Lady Wilnelia Merced, and nothing to his six children.
Was he mad at them, or just trying to avoid paying taxes? As his wife, Lady Wilnelia won’t have to pay any for the inheritance. Additionally, Bruce was quoted saying, “I think your inheritance should go to your children more than back to the country.” Strange indeed…
Gene Roddenberry – asked to boldly go where no man had gone before
The creator of the first Star Trek series, Gene Roddenberry, will always be remembered as a pioneer of the sci-fi genre.
Gene was the first TV writer to ever receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and he also wanted to be one of the first people to be buried in space. In his will, he requested for his ashes to be scattered into space, and in 1997 some of his remains were indeed sent into space inside the Pegasus XL rocket, along with 23 other people’s.
Richard Harrison – and none for you, son
Fans of the reality series Pawn Stars came to love Richard Harrison as the cool patriarch of the Harrison family that runs the Las Vegas pawn shop, and when it was announced that Richard passed away they were devastated.
But recently, new details have emerged about his will that has surprised many. A representative of the family revealed that Richard’s youngest son, Christopher, has been left out of the will entirely. Knowing how important family is to the Harrisons clan, this has left many fans speculating on what kind of relationship Richard and Christopher must have had.
Freddy Mercury – buried in an undisclosed location
Freddie Mercury has gone down in history as one of the greatest rock and roll legends of all the time, and fans were heartbroken when the news broke in November 1991 that the rock star had passed away.
But his will had a couple of strange requests. To begin with, instead of leaving most of his assets to his romantic partner, Jim Hulton, the majority of his estate was left to his friend, and ex-girlfriend, Mary Austin. On top of that, he had insisted that Mary be given his cremated remains, and that she bury them in a secret location. To this day she refuses to tell where Freddie has been buried.
Cher – homes to each of her children
With an over $350 million net worth and properties all over the globe, one wonders how Cher will divide up her fortune.
And while she’s had many famous paramours over the years, for Cher, it’s always been about family: currently in her early 70s, Cher has seemingly hinted how her fortune will eventually be split, as she has recently bought homes for both her children and given her Malibu home to her sister.
Karl Lagerfeld – here kitty, kitty
There are cat people, and then there is Karl Lagerfeld. Unfortunately the fashion icon passed away in February 2019 at age 85 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. Right away, people began wondering where his $200 million fortune would go.
It turns out, there is a huge chance it will go to his cat, Choupette. Lagerfeld adored the animal and even said that he would marry his pet if it were legal. That must be one special cat.
Barron Hilton – Paris will inherit nothing
You can’t think of the name Hilton from the Hilton hotels empire, and not immediately think of the two famous sisters, Paris and Nikki Hilton.
The hotel empire owner and founder, Barron Hilton, who is the grandfather of these two socialites, has pledged to pass almost 100% of his $4.5 billion net worth to his charities. In fact, the billionaire has no intentions of leaving anything to his granddaughter, Paris, who has reportedly embarrassed her family’s name by her previous actions.
Farrah Fawcett – left nothing for her lover, Ryan O’Neal
Actress Farrah Fawcett, known for her years on Charlie’s Angels, had men drooling over her poster and women wanting to look like her.
Fawcett was in a longterm relationship with actor Ryan O’Neal when she died, and surprised the world when she didn’t leave Ryan a penny of her money. There are those that say that it’s because of Ryan’s treatment of her over the years.
Patrick Swayze – left everything to his wife
Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with cancer in mid-January 2008 and sadly passed away 22 months later, but not without signing a will that shut out his entire family, and left his wife Lisa Niemi with the entirety of his $40 million fortune, according to reports.
At the time, the actor’s family claimed the will had been forged, and even called for an investigation. Patrick’s brother, Sean Swayze, claimed that Lisa was “hammering him” so he would sign his fortune to her.
Hugh Hefner – looking out for his family’s health
Playboy founder the “Hef” was married three times, and had four children. When he passed away at 91, he stipulated clearly in his will that if his last wife Crystal or any of his children were to abuse any type of substances, they’d be cut off from his money – estimated to range anywhere from $50 million to $110 million.
Not only that, but his trustees were given the power to administer tests if they suspect any of the beneficiaries aren’t up to spec. Also included in the will were the University of Southern California film school, and a variety of charities.
Mickey Rooney – some serious legal drama
Actor and producer Mickey Rooney was not very wealthy at the time of his passing in 2014, but he did have around $80,000 to his name – which isn’t exactly peanuts either. But judging by his will, he was determined his wife and kids would see none of it.
For unknown reasons he disinherited his wife of 35 years and the children they had raised together. They all contested the will, but lost. What happened to the money in the end, has not been publicly disclosed.
Patricia O’Neill – a very lucky pet chimpanzee
Patricia O’Neil was the daughter of the Countess of Kenmore, and was a serious animal lover. So much so, that she decided to leave her entire inheritance to her beloved pet chimpanzee Kalu.
No less than $109 did this lucky monkey get, and apparently it was not only because Patricia loved him so much. It was also to ensure her husband didn’t get a single penny. We’re not sure what he did to piss her off that much, but he probably regrets it right about now.
Janis Joplin – keep on partying
Janis Joplin apparently knew her time was coming up, as she changed her will just two days before passing away. And what she in that moment cared about was her friends celebrating rather than grieving.
So she stated she wanted $2,500 to be spent on an all-night party after her funeral, at her favorite pub in San Anselmo, California, for 200 carefully selected loved ones. What happened to the rest of the $5 million she had left is unknown.