Gloria Vanderbilt’s Will provided that her son, CNN news reporter Anderson Cooper (“Anderson Cooper 360”), will receive the residue of her estate other than her Manhattan co-op and contents therein which were bequested to another son, Charles Stokowski. Since Wills and inventory are a matter of public record (unlike trusts), the amount Anderson Cooper is to receive is approximately $1.5 million – which is surprisingly low considering she inherited the equivalent  of $35 million in today’s dollars (as she was the great-great granddaughter of the famous Cornelius Vanderbilt) when she was a young girl (commonly known as “poor little rich girl”) plus being a well-known fashion designer (particularly her brand of designer jeans with her trademark swan logo) with her business reportedly worth $100 million in the 1970s.

Anderson Cooper Inherits 1.5 Million From His Mother, Gloria Vanderbilt

However, due to charitable giving, four divorces and a lavish lifestyle, her fortune shrunk considerably.

One of her children, Chris Stokowski, died by suicide from the balcony of her 14thfloor apartment in1988.

It seems surprising that a well-known public figure would let her personal business be known (beneficiaries and the amount of assets) as we probably would have recommended a trust possibly with some tax planning. Wills and an Inventory are of public record unlike a trust. If she had a trust, the only asset that the public would know is that co-op would be inherited by Charles Stokowski since deeds are a matter of public record. Privacy is becoming more of a concern in this information age. If her assets were held in a trust, the public would not know about the wealth (or lack thereof) of the “poor little rich girl”.

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