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30th Oct 2022

Heiress set to inherit millions wants to give away 90% of her riches

Tobi Akingbade

Sort of a noble thing?

A 30-year-old woman who is set to inherit millions of euros has already decided that she wants to get rid almost all of her wealth.

Marlene Engelhorn’s learned from an accountant in 2020 that she would inherit many millions of euros following the death of her grandmother, who passed away last month.

Englehorn’s family have amassed a multibillion-dollar fortune which began with Friedrich Engelhorn, who founded BASF, one of the world’s largest chemical companies, about 150 years ago in Germany.

Instead of celebrating Englehorn decided she would give away 90% of her riches and has instead has been campaigning for tax policies that would better redistribute her wealth.

Speaking to The New York Times, she commented: “The dream scenario is I get taxed.”

Rather than donating through philanthropy, which Engelhorn believes replicates power dynamics that have created systemic inequalities in the first place, she has co-founded a group called Tax Me Now and is part of a movement of millionaires who are urging governments to take more of their money

“There’s no need for another foundation,” she explained. “What’s really needed is structural change.”

Engelhorn’s goal through Tax Me Now is to implement or increase inheritance and wealth taxes, as she believes it’s not just wealth that’s being handed down, but also power.

The 30-year-old hopes that giving away 90% of her inheritance would mean it will go to the state in the form of tax.

“A government who won’t use wealth taxes won’t get a gift just like that,” she explained.

Engelhorn voiced her opinions in a speech at a Millionaires for Humanity event which took place in Amsterdam in August, when she described herself as ‘the product of an unequal society’, adding: “Because otherwise, I couldn’t be born into multimillions. Just born. Nothing else.”

She received an award for her activism following the event, but stressed she is “not even an expert on the matter”, and instead is “really just rich”.

Members of Engelhorn’s family have themselves donated funds to good causes, but the 30-year-old believes the rich shouldn’t be the ones to decide which endeavours receive support.

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