Florida Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Warren Buffet Updates His Estate Plan

Life never stands still for anyone. Your personal, family, financial and health circumstances always change over time. So do laws, at both the federal and state level. These are the reasons everyone should revisit and revise their estate plan periodically. And Warren Buffet, the world’s 10th richest man, is no exception to the rule.


Buffet’s New Estate Plan

The chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffet is known as much for his philanthropy as his vast wealth. He has always planned for the majority of his wealth to go to charity when he dies. In 2006 The Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, to which he has contributed billions over the years, was earmarked to inherit his wealth.  But now, at 93, Buffet has changed his mind.

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Buffet indicated he has revised his plan several times over the years. The latest plan eliminates the Gates Foundation as a beneficiary upon his death. Instead, his plan calls for a new charitable trust to be created when he dies. The trust will be helmed by his three children, Susan, Howard and Peter.  All of Buffet’s existing shares of Berkshire Hathaway will flow into the trust, currently valued at $127 billion.

He has provided no specific instructions on how his children should distribute the money. He has expressed confidence in their good judgment and provided only this broad guideline: “It should be used to help the people that haven’t been as lucky as we have been. There’s eight billion people in the world, and me and my kids, we’ve been in the luckiest 100th of 1% or something. There’s lots of ways to help people.”

The Trustees

Each of Buffet’s children have their own current philanthropic interests.

Susie, the eldest at 71, runs the Sherwood Foundation, which makes grants to communities and organizations in Nebraska that align with its values of “equity, social justice and shared humanity.”

Howie, 69, runs the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The foundation focuses on helping impoverished and war-torn areas around the world. According to its website, its mission is to “catalyze transformational change to improve the standard of living and quality of life, particularly for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations.”

Peter, 66, runs the NoVo Foundation. Its funds are distributed to projects that promote economic empowerment for women, violence prevention, and improving the standard of living in indigenous communities.

The Oracle of Omaha’s newest estate plan requires all three to make unanimous decisions about how trust monies are distributed and handled, so we will have to wait and see where their mission takes them and their money. One thing is for sure: The estate will not pay a penny in federal estate tax!


If you are thinking about making modifications to your existing estate plan or creating one for the first time, please call  The Karp Law Firm for an appointment at 561-625-1100. Our attorneys have offices in Boynton Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and Port St. Lucie, Florida.