Melinda French Gates reportedly hired trust and estate lawyers in her divorce from Bill Gates, an 'unusual' move signaling that she could tweak their 3 kids' $10 million inheritance

·2 min read
bill and melinda gates
Melinda French Gates and Bill Gates during a TED conference in 2014. YouTube/TED
  • Experts told Page Six that naming trust and estate lawyers in divorce filings was unusual.

  • The move could mean Melinda French Gates wishes to change the amount that her three kids inherit.

  • Bill Gates has said each kid will get $10 million, with the rest of the fortune going to charity.

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Melinda French Gates named trust and estate lawyers in her filing for divorce from Bill Gates, according to a new report from Page Six.

The divorce lawyer Robert Cohen, who's with the firm Cohen Clair Lans Greifer Thorpe & Rottenstreich, is representing French Gates in the divorce. The firm has also represented former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Ivana Trump, former President Donald Trump's first wife, Page Six said. French Gates also listed the estate-planning attorney Loretta Ippolito and Bruce Birenboim with the firm Paul Weiss in her filings.

Ippolito advises clients on "complex estate planning issues," according to her profile on the Paul Weiss website, including domestic trust planning and the "disposition of appreciated property."

Trust and estate-planning lawyers typically help you plan how to leave your assets to beneficiaries upon your death.

Experts told Page Six that it was "most unusual for trust and estate lawyers' names to be listed on a divorce filing" and that the move could mean French Gates may want to change the amount of money that their kids inherit.

French Gates and Gates have three children together, including one who is a nationally ranked equestrian show jumper. Gates has said their children will inherit $10 million each and the rest of the couple's $130 billion fortune will go to charity.

Representatives for French Gates and Gates did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

The divorce lawyer Harriet Newman Cohen told Page Six that French Gates' move could also signal a sense of empowerment as she attempts to lay claim to her portion of the vast Gates fortune.

Read more: How the ultrarich avoid messy public divorce battles by keeping their disputes out of court

French Gates and Gates announced on May 3 they were ending their 27-year marriage, which stunned those in the technology and philanthropic worlds.

Reports have since surfaced detailing how French Gates started talking with divorce lawyers in 2019 after news became public of her husband's ties with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Gates and Epstein met multiple times between 2011 and 2014, according to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker.

Gates said in 2019 that he had indeed met the financier but did not have "any business relationship or friendship with him."

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