Thursday 27 December 2007

Merry Christmas Paris Hilton

What a Christmas present from Grandpa! Just in case you were counting on an inheritance to fund your retirement, here is a cautionary tale of why it's a bad idea to count you chickens before they hatch. Barron Hilton has announced that he intends to donate 97% of his $2.3 billion dollar fortune to charity via the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. This means that the remaining fortune that Paris Hilton may get to share will be whittled down to a modest $69 million. Since Paris has a brother, and Barron had eight children to split the estate between, she's likely to inherit a very small fortune.

However, if Barron doesn't get a move on and finalise the transfer of assets to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation before his death (he is already 80) it may never happen. He currently plans "to contribute ... at whatever value it is at the time of his passing" [my emphasis]. This could be a problem since there is a traditional of rich beneficiaries contesting wills that cut them off from the family fortune. Indeed Barron contested his own father Conrad's will when it left a controlling stake in Hilton Hotel to the charity in 1979. The nearly decade-long legal struggle reached an out-of-court settlement to split ownership of the shares with the foundation in 1988. So Paris Hilton may not end up being a poor little rich girl after all.

Copyright Enough Wealth 2007

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