The fashion world is still grieving from the loss of fashion designer and activist Gloria Vanderbilt who passed away from stomach cancer at age 95 in June. At this age, she was able to see a lot and do even more: she witnessed the Carroll Shelbys of the 1960s, staked her claim in the denim industry, and cared for a successful family to boot.
Despite her successes, inheritance, and long life, Vanderbilt didn’t intend to leave her three sons a trust fund at the time of her passing. Reports claim that Vanderbilt liked to live lavishly and experienced more than a few financial setbacks, including theft from her lawyer and psychiatrist. After receiving a federal tax lien on delinquent taxes, things only got worse and Vanderbilt had to sell two of her estates and move into a modest apartment. It’s estimated that income taxes alone account for 50% of the United States’ annual revenue. In 2018, the IRS processed up to 155 million individual taxpayer returns.
From the get-go, her son Anderson Cooper was on board with her decision.
“My mom’s made clear to me that there’s no trust fund. There’s none of that,” Cooper told Howard Stern during a radio interview in 2014.
“I don’t believe in inheriting money … I think it’s an initiative sucker. I think it’s a curse. Who’s inherited a lot of money that has gone on to do things in their life? From the time I was growing up, if I felt like there was some pot of gold waiting for me, I don’t know if I would have been so motivated.”
However, new reports shocked the presses when Vanderbilt’s will revealed that most of her estate was going to Anderson Cooper.
The will was filed on the first of July in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court, noting that all of her belongings were to be split between Anderson Cooper and his half-brother Leopold Stokowski. While Cooper will inherit all of Vanderbilt’s belongings, Stokowski will be granted Vanderbilt’s Manhattan co-op at 30 Beekman Place. While homebuyers have a 20% chance of buying a home in an HOA, a co-op works more like an investment opportunity.
Anderson Cooper, on the other hand, is the sole beneficiary of Vanderbilt’s $200 million estate. However, Fast Company claims that this number may not be entirely accurate; rather, the will simply stated that “all the rest” goes to Anderson Cooper. Given Vanderbilt’s penchant for altruism, it’s likely that she left a large sum to charity.
By stark contrast, Vanderbilt’s estranged third son Chris Stokowski was left out of the will entirely. After a falling out with his family over a dispute with a therapist more than 40 years earlier, he has had little contact with his family since.
Vanderbilt’s health started to decline at age 90 in 2015, an impressive age. It’s estimated that only 35% of people over the age of 75 are even physically active, let alone healthy. It was when she first started to suffer from respiratory conditions that Anderson Cooper became the catalyst behind Vanderbilt’s acclaimed memoir and biopic.
“I didn’t want there to be anything left unsaid between my mother and me, so on her ninety-first birthday I decided to start a new kind of conversation with her, a conversation about her life,” explains Cooper. “Not the mundane details, but the things that really matter, her experiences that I didn’t know about or fully understand.”
The total amount of money Cooper will receive has not yet been determined, but given Cooper’s previous attitude toward trust funds, we can expect to see him working hard on CNN for years to come.