Guardian: Vindictive billionaire's fortune finally distributed - Spear's Magazine

Guardian: Vindictive billionaire’s fortune finally distributed

He called it his “golden egg”, and for 92 years it has been incubating quietly in a trust fund in his hometown of Saginaw, Michigan. But by the end of this month its shell will crack and out will come a fortune worth up to $110m (£67.5m), enriching people he never knew and bringing to an end the saga of one of the strangest bequests in US history

He called it his “golden egg”, and for 92 years it has been incubating quietly in a trust fund in his hometown of Saginaw, Michigan. But by the end of this month its shell will crack and out will come a fortune worth up to $110m (£67.5m), enriching people he never knew and bringing to an end the saga of one of the strangest bequests in US history.

The “golden egg” belonged to one Wellington Burt, a fabulously wealthy Michigan lumber tycoon who was, according to the account of his contemporaries, brilliant, crotchety and eccentric in equal measure. When he died in 1919, aged 87, he had a multimillion fortune to give away, and was expected to provide handsomely for his immediate family and for the various Saginaw causes that he espoused.

It was not to be. Nobody quite knows why — some say it was the result of petty gripes against family members, others that he was a sour old man who wanted to wreak his revenge beyond the grave — but Burt wrote one of the most peculiar wills that probate lawyers can remember.

The “golden egg”, he said, would remain in its nest for 21 years after the death of his last surviving grandchild.

To read the full story, visit guardian.co.uk



 

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