Bill and Melinda Gates agreed on estate split before divorce announcement
Bill and Melinda Gates agreed on estate split before divorce announcement

Gates’ agreed on estate divide before split call

Bill and Melinda Gates reportedly agreed how to divide their property and assets before announcing their divorce on Monday, according to US media reports.

The billionaire couple, who have been married for 27 years, signed a "separation contract" outlining how their estate would be split.

But they did not sign a pre-nuptial agreement before their wedding in 1994.

The couple run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has spent billions on charitable causes around the world.

The former couple have pledged to continue to work together at the foundation once their divorce is finalised.

 

Bill and Melinda Gates with their three children. Picture: Supplied
Bill and Melinda Gates with their three children. Picture: Supplied

 

If the couple split their wealth 50/50, Bill Gates would fall to 17th on the Forbes rich list.

The Microsoft founder has hired the legal firm started by fellow billionaire Warren Buffett's right-hand man to help lead his $170 billion divorce from wife Melinda.

Munger, Tolles & Olson is listed as one of three firms representing the Microsoft co-founder after Gates' wife of 27 years filed for divorce on Monday.

Munger, Tolles & Olson was listed in the court papers filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle, in which Melinda wrote that the marriage was "irretrievably broken."

 

GATES' KIDS WON'T INHERIT FORTUNE

It also emerged that the Gates children will not inherit their parents' vast fortune - instead they will have to settle for just a few million each.

"I definitely think leaving kids massive amounts of money is not a favour to them. Warren Buffett was part of an article in Fortune talking about this in 1986 before I met him and it made me think about it and decide he was right," Mr Gates said in 2017.

The three children - Jennifer, 25, Phoebe, 18, and Rory, 21, - will inherit US10 million ($A13 million) each - which is less than one per cent of his fortune.

The Gates fortune is again creating headlines around the world following news the Microsoft founder was splitting with wife Melinda.

 

 

 

The Gates children will only get a small slice of the family fortune. Picture: Melinda Gates / Twitter
The Gates children will only get a small slice of the family fortune. Picture: Melinda Gates / Twitter

Mr Gates is the fourth richest person in the world, and is estimated to be worth $US130.5 billion ($A168 billion), according to Forbes.

The upcoming divorce is set to be one of the most expensive in history.

 

SHOCK SPLIT

They announced the shock split in a statement released via Twitter.

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," the pair said.

"Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.

"We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.

 

ennifer Gates has asked for privacy after the split of her parents.
ennifer Gates has asked for privacy after the split of her parents.

 

"We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life."

Their assets include properties in five states with the standout being their $US127 million mansion in Medina, Washington, overlooking Lake Washington.

Dubbed "Xanadu 2.0", the Pacific Lodge-style design includes seven bedrooms, a private library and a dome-shaped roof, with a swimming pool, private gym and a huge dining room.

Mr Gates bought the land on which it was built in 1988 for $US2 million.

The home includes tech-inspired features such as sensors, temperature and custom lighting, and speakers behind the walls which allow music to "follow" guests throughout the home.

Legal documents that emerged on Tuesday revealed the couple do not have a pre nuptial agreement, but the documents refer to a separation contract, which includes financial information relating to two of the couple's three children.

Jennifer Gates, 25, an elite equestrian and medical student, took to Instagram to comment on her parents' shock announcement.

"It's been a challenging stretch of time for our whole family," she wrote.

"I'm still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as my family members at this time and am grateful for the space to do so."

 

RELATIONSHIP HISTORY

Bill, 65, and Melinda, 56, started dating in 1987 after meeting at a trade show in New York.

She went on to work in marketing for Microsoft before being appointed General Manager of Information Products in the 1990s.

They married in 1994 when Microsoft had already become the world's most valuable company.

Melinda has previously said Bill's long work hours made their marriage "incredibly hard".

"Believe me, I can remember some days that were so incredibly hard in our marriage where you thought, 'Can I do this?'" she told the Sunday Times in 2019.

 

In the Netflix series Inside Bill's Brain, they admit they considered breaking up while they were dating because of his work.

"You know, we cared a lot for each other and there were only two possibilities: either, we were going to break up or we were going to get married," Bill said.

He then made a list of the pros and the cons before deciding on a union.

"I took the idea of marriage very seriously," he said.

Melinda added: "(He) wanted to be married, but he didn't know whether he could actually commit to it and (run) Microsoft."

 

'NO PRENUP'

Meanwhile, new documents have revealed Gates' do not have a prenuptial agreement.

During their near three decade marriage, the wealthy high profile couple amassed an estimated $US130 billion fortune.

The papers show Melinda did not ask for spousal support and has asked for a trial date in April 2022.

 

The $164 million Gates compound overlooking Lake Washington, near Seattle. Picture: Getty Images
The $164 million Gates compound overlooking Lake Washington, near Seattle. Picture: Getty Images

 

The home overlooks Seattle’s Lake Washington. Picture: Cutler Anderson Architects
The home overlooks Seattle’s Lake Washington. Picture: Cutler Anderson Architects

 

They also cite the request for divorce, saying their marriage is "Irretrievably broken".

However the former couple refer to a separation contract, which includes financial information relating to two of the couple's three children.

Their assets include properties in five states with a standout their $US127 million ($A164 million) mansion in Medina, Washington, overlooking Lake Washington.

Dubbed "Xanadu 2.0", the Pacific Lodge-style design includes seven bedrooms, a private library and a dome-shaped roof, with a swimming pool, private gym and a huge dining room.

Mr Gates bought the land on which it was built in 1988 for $US2 million.

 

Bill Gates told architects he wanted a house of the future. Real estate. Picture: Cutler Anderson Architects
Bill Gates told architects he wanted a house of the future. Real estate. Picture: Cutler Anderson Architects

 

Architects used natural elements throughout the home. Picture: Cutler Anderson Architects
Architects used natural elements throughout the home. Picture: Cutler Anderson Architects

 

The home includes tech-inspired features such as sensors, temperature and custom lighting, and speakers behind the walls which allow music to "follow" guests throughout the home.

They also own a $US59 million ($A76 million) ranch in Florida and a Wyoming ranch worth $US9 million ($A11.6 million) consisting of five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a guesthouse, caretaker's house, dairy cabin, stable and a hut located in the middle of a lake.

The pair own a private jet and car lover Bill owns a Porsche 930 Turbo, a Jaguar XJ6, a Ferrari 348 and a rare Porsche 959, which was held up for 13 years by US customs. Most recently, he purchased an electric car, the Porsche Taycan.

An art collection that includes the Da Vinci Codex worth $30 million is also up for grabs.

 

Originally published as Gates' agreed on estate divide before split call



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