Pledge Aside, Dead Billionaires Don't Have to Give Away Half Their Fortune
Estate Law Attorney David Scott Sloan discusses the Giving Pledge, created by billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett for others to give away more than half of their fortunes in life or in death.
More than 200 people have signed the pledge, but signatories are under no legal obligation to donate any of their money, and sometimes fail to give away anywhere close to half. The Giving Pledge emphasizes that it’s a moral pledge, Mr. Sloan said, and this distinction has a very real legal purpose: it eliminates the ability of Giving Pledge signers to sue fellow billionaires who fail to give.
“When I give money to charity and I pledge to pay it over five years, I actually sign a contract,” Mr. Sloan said. “These are all people who sign lots of pledges like that and wanted, I’m sure, to make it very clear it’s a moral direction as opposed to a legal direction.”