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A Feud Over the Rockefeller Legacy


Recently, the last surviving grandson of John D. Rockefeller passed away at the age of 101. His passing has shined the light on an interesting feud between members of the Rockefeller family.

Standard Oil, the company Rockefeller founded, survives today as ExxonMobil. The Rockefellers are suing ExxonMobil because they believe the company lied for years about the effect of fossil fuels on climate change. Of course, fossil fuels are the reason that Standard Oil was founded. Without them, the Rockefellers would not have their great wealth.

Not every family member agrees on this issue, as Private Wealth reports in "Fighting Over A Dynasty's Soul."

A headline of "Rockefeller's Sue Over Effects of Fossil Fuels" is interesting in and of itself. However, even more interesting is what this reveals about dynasties.

It shows how the beliefs and interests of heirs can be radically different than the interests of the founders. This has implications for how those with dynastic wealth set up the trusts to benefit their families.

Some founders will want to be flexible, so future generations will be able to change direction when information and beliefs change. Others might want to prevent that, since they will want to make sure their specific legacy is continued.

Reference: Private Wealth (June 22, 2017) "Fighting Over A Dynasty's Soul."

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