Rarely does a person do well having a lot of money thrown on them. The world’s greatest innovators and industrialists, people like J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs, were self-made.
Henry Ford came from humble circumstances. He worked as an engineer, and dreamed of starting his own auto manufactruing company. His first auto company failed. The Ford Motor F +0.06%Company, his third company, became one of the world’s great manufacturing companies. He contributed in large measure to the development of the automotive industry, and to the rise of the middle class. He became unimaginably wealthy.
William Clay Ford, Henry’s grandson, used part of his inheritance to purchase the Detroit Lions from a consortium of auto suppliers in 1963. The Lions were then a competitive team. They had won three NFL championships in the 1950s. A dispute had erupted among the team’s owners, and the thought was that they would comply in selling their interests to Mr. Ford, beholden as they were to his family’s company.
Since William Clay Ford bought the Lions, they the team has flat-lined. The franchise has made one bad decision after another. Since 1975, the Lions have played their home games indoors, negating a natural advantage they would have in cold weather over warm-weather opponents. Football was meant to be played outside.
In the Ford era, the Lions have won only one playoff game. The Lions are the NFL’s only non-expansion team not to have made it to the Super Bowl.
In my own family, my paternal grandparents had two children: my father, who had four sons; and my aunt, who had two daughters. My paternal grandparents left their considerable estate to their two granddaughters. I don’t know what became of my two paternal cousins. My paternal grandparents’ estate likely was gone not long after my paternal grandparents were. My brothers and I include a physician, two attorneys, and a CPA. I have benefitted from having to work for what I have. My paternal grandparents should have left their estate to charity.
One last point. Whether you give property to charity during your lifetime or at your death, your estate will not incur estate tax on it. But if you give the property to charity during your lifetime, you will also have an income tax deduction for it. And the charities will have the benefit of the property sooner.