Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kennedy Family Wealth Leaves Lasting Legacy

Kennedy family 2Members of the Kennedy family have occupied almost every political position in America, including the roles of congressmen, senator, state representative, and President.  The sustaining force behind the Kennedys reign can be attributed to Joseph P. Kennedy, who made vast amounts of money from insider trading only to later chair the SEC.  It is estimated that the family’s fortune is around $1 billion. 

The majority of the family’s wealth is held in trusts, which range in value from thousands to as much as $25 million.  The task of investing the family trusts is handled by outside organizations, and day-to-day oversight is managed by an advisory board of six experts.

Joseph P. Kennedy’s decision to place his fortune in trusts is one of reasons why the family wealth is still in existence.  The trusts protect the family assets from government taxes.  By holding assets in “dynasty trusts” the Kennedy family is insulated from the estate tax.  If handled correctly, a dynasty trust could potentially maintain an un-taxable fortune indefinitely. 

Other tax-advantaged strategies enable the Kennedy family to sustain their wealth.  Christopher Kennedy acknowledged, “We are a very public family with a very private investment philosophy.”

See Carl O’Donnell, How The $1 Billion Kennedy Family Fortune Defies Death And Taxes, Forbes, July 8, 2014. 

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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