Trust Fund Fortunes: The world’s richest heirs 2024


From a 19-year-old college student to Asia’s richest person, it pays wells to be born rich.

(This story is part of Forbes’ 2024 World’s Billionaires package, released on Tuesday.)

It’s not easy to make Forbes’ billionaires list. Some shoveled manure on their neighbors’ farms or slept in cars to get their start. Scores of others got a leg up from middle- or upper-class parents. But plenty of the planet’s super-rich took the shortest route to billions: they were born with them.

Roughly a third of the 2,781 people on the 2024 World’s Billionaires ranking inherited their vast wealth, or at least a big chunk of it, by Forbes’ calculations.

In all, these 934 heirs (good for 33.6% of the list) are worth a collective $5 trillion. Those figures are on the rise, up from 827 last year (or 31.3% of the list) worth $4.1 trillion. This lucky bunch owe their riches to everything from cement to candy bars, and used their resources and connections to attend elite schools, launch businesses of their own—or just sit back and collect the fat dividends and investment returns that come from being handed a ten-figure fortune.

Most of the planet’s very richest people are categorized as self-made, meaning they built their own fortunes, rather than inheriting it from a spouse or family member. But seven of the 25 wealthiest people in the world started with at least a $1 billion inheritance—and in some cases, much, much more. This includes the richest woman, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers (estimated net worth: $99.5 billion), who inherited shares of the cosmetics giant L’Oréal founded by her grandfather, and Asia’s richest person, Mukesh Ambani ($116 billion), who inherited part of the textile manufacturing empire started by his father.

Ambani is one of 572 people in the ranks who have taken their good fortune and worked hard to expand it. He began with an estimated $2.9 billion fortune from his late father, Dhirubhai Ambani (d. 2002) and is now part of the $100 Billion Club after growing his Reliance Industries into a $110 billion (revenue) giant in telecom, retail, oil and gas, and more.

Others were handed a ready-baked empire and let others run the show, such as Mark Mateschitz, who at 30 years old became Austria’s richest person after his father, Red Bull cofounder Dietrich Mateschitz, died in 2022, leaving him his half of the global energy drink company. The young heir, whose estimated net worth stands at $39.6 billion, said after his father’s death that he planned to take no role at the company and instead “concentrate on my role as a shareholder.”

One reason heirs are on the rise: As Forbes has reported, aging billionaires in the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) and their elders are beginning the process of handing over their riches to the next generation, minting a new cohort of super wealthy youngsters. This year, there are 107 new heirs compared to last year. This is also the first year since 2009 that every billionaire under 30 inherited his or her fortune.

The youngest of all is Brazilian heiress Livia Voigt ($1.1 billion), who at 19 years old is now the world’s youngest billionaire thanks to her minority stake in WEG, the electrical equipment producer cofounded by her grandfather in 1961. Swedish sisters Sofia and Marta Schörling Högberg, also new billionaires, are worth an estimated $5.6 billion each after inheriting a majority of Melker Schörling AB, the investment firm started by their late father, Melker Schörling, who died last year.

Here are the 20 richest billionaire heirs around the globe, ranked by net worth.


20. Stefan Quandt
Ceremonial farewell to the Prime Minister of Hesse
dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

Age: 57 | Citizenship: Germany | Source of Wealth: BMW| Net Worth: $27.3 Billion

Quandt owns 23.6% of the carmaker BMW, which he inherited from his late father, the controversial yet wildly successful German industrialist Herbert Quandt (d. 1982). The automobile heir serves as deputy chairman of BMW’s supervisory board. (His sister, Susanne Klatten, is also a billionaire.)

19. Germán Larrea Mota Velasco & family

Age: 70 | Citizenship: Mexico | Source of Wealth: Mining | Net Worth: $27.9 Billion

Velasco and his family own about 60% of Grupo México, the mining conglomerate founded by Velasco’s father, Jorge Larrea Ortega (d. 1999). As president and CEO, he’s expanded the firm into infrastructure and rail transportation. Today, the $14.4 billion (2023 revenue) firm is one of the biggest copper producers in the world.

18. Lukas Walton

Age: 37 | Citizenship: U.S. | Source of Wealth: Walmart | Net Worth: $28 Billion

A grandson of Sam Walton, he inherited his fortune when his father, John Walton, died in a plane crash in 2005. (His mother Christy Walton is also a billionaire.) He invests in startups focused on environmental causes and social change through his family office, Builders Vision.

17. Abigail Johnson

Age: 62 | Citizenship: U.S. | Source of Wealth: Fidelity Investments | Net Worth: $29 Billion

Johnson is CEO of Fidelity, the $4.9 trillion (managed assets) mutual fund giant started by her grandfather in 1946. She took over the top job in 2014, taking over for her father, Edward “Ned” Johnson III (d. 2022), and owns an estimated 28.5% stake in the firm. She also became its chairman in 2016.

16. Miriam Adelson

Age: 78 | Citizenship: U.S. | Source of Wealth: Casinos | Net Worth: $32 Billion

Adelson became the majority shareholder of publicly traded Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world’s largest casino operator, after her husband Sheldon Adelson, the company’s founder and chairman, died in 2021 at age 87. In November 2023, she sold $2 billion worth of Las Vegas Sands shares and bought a majority of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team from fellow billionaire Mark Cuban. (As is the case with Julia Koch, Miriam met her late husband, a prolific GOP donor during his lifetime, on a blind date.)

15. Savitri Jindal & family

Age: 74 | Citizenship: India | Source of Wealth: Steel | Net Worth: $33.5 Billion

Profile Shoot Of Non-Executive Chairperson Of Jindal Steel & Power Limited Savitri Jindal
Hindustan Times via Getty Images

She is the chair of Indian steel giant Jindal Group, which she and her family inherited after the 2005 death of her husband, founder Om Prakash Jindal. Each of her four sons run a part of the business, which has interests in power, cement and infrastructure. The family’s net worth is up by $16 billion compared to last year, thanks in part to the 14% jump in shares of its key asset, JSW Steel, and the September 2023 IPO of ports unit JSW infrastructure by Savitri’s son Sajjan.

14. MacKenzie Scott

Age: 53 | Citizenship: U.S.| Source of Wealth: Amazon| Net Worth: $35.6 Billion

Scott received a 4% stake in Amazon when she and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos divorced in 2019 after 25 years of marriage. One of the U.S.’s most generous philanthropists, she’s already given nearly half her shares away. Earlier this month, she awarded $640 million to 361 organizations after issuing an “Open Call” for grant applications—she initially planned to give away $250 million.

12. Alain Wertheimer (tie)

Age: 75 | Citizenship: France| Source of Wealth: Chanel | Net Worth: $36.8 Billion

The Wertheimer brothers, Alain and Gerard, split ownership of the luxury goods brand Chanel their grandfather, Pierre, founded along with the company’s namesake, Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel, in the 1920s. The older of the pair, Alain lives in New York and serves as the chairman of Chanel. The duo added $5.2 billion in net worth compared to last year after Chanel’s revenue jumped 17% to $17.2 billion; they also divided a $1.7 billion (pretax) dividend.

12. Gerard Wertheimer (tie)
Ascot Races

Queen Elizabeth II with Alain Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer in 2015.

Getty Images

Age: 73 | Citizenship: France | Source of Wealth: Chanel | Net Worth: $36.8 Billion

Chanel’s other owner, Gerard lives in Switzerland and heads the company’s watch division. Outside of their stake in Chanel, the extremely private brothers split ownership of a handful of vineyards across France and the Napa Valley. They also own a thoroughbred horse racing and breeding business, Wertheimer et Frère.

10. Jacqueline Mars (tie)

Age: 84 | Citizenship: United States | Source of Wealth: Candy, pet food | Net Worth: $38.5 Billion

Jacqueline and her two brothers, John and Forrest Jr. (d. 2016) each inherited an estimated one-third of Mars Inc. after their father Forrest Sr. died in 1999. It was his father, Frank Mars, who in 1911 started the candy business that is now America’s fourth largest private company. Jacqueline, who is prominent in the equestrian world, held positions at Mars for nearly 20 years before retiring in 2016.

10. John Mars (tie)

Age: 88 | Citizenship: United States | Source of Wealth: Candy, pet food | Net Worth: $38.5 Billion

Jacqueline’s brother John, who keeps an equally low public profile, was also involved in the family business for many years. He and his late brother Forrest Jr. served as co-presidents of Mars starting in 1975, overseeing its expansion into a diversified global empire spanning sweets, pet food and chewing gum. A 1992 Washington Post article described how the three Mars siblings all worked in the same room and shared a secretary.

9. Mark Mateschitz

Age: 31 | Citizenship: Austria| Source of Wealth: Red Bull | Net Worth: $39.6 Billion

The lone son of Red Bull’s cofounder became a billionaire after inheriting his father’s 49% stake in the energy drink giant upon his death in October 2022—plus a smattering of cash, real estate and a stake in the Red Bull F1 Racing Team. He earned $630 million in Red Bull dividends (pretax) over the past year.

8. Giovanni Ferrero

Age: 59 | Citizenship: Italy | Source of Wealth: Nutella, chocolates | Net Worth: $43.8 Billion

Ferrero inherited an estimated 75% stake in his family’s namesake confections business after the death of his father, Michele Ferrero, in 2015. The Ferrero Group was founded in 1946 after his grandfather, Pietro Ferrero, invented the hazelnut spread that would become known as Nutella. The second generation chocolate heir became the co-CEO of the company at age 32 with his late brother Pietro (d. 2011) and ran it for two decades before stepping down in 2017. He still serves as the Ferrero Group’s executive chairman.

7. Julia Koch

Age: 61 | Citizenship: U.S. | Source of Wealth: Koch Industries | Net Worth: $64.3 Billion

The wife of the late David Koch, Julia Koch became one of the richest people in the world when she and her three children—David Jr., Mary Julia and John—inherited David’s 42% of the company after his death in 2019. Julia has a seat on Koch Industries’ board of directors and serves as president of the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation. She’s rumored to be in talks to purchase a 10% stake in the Brooklyn Nets NBA team.

6. David Thomson

Age: 66 | Citizenship: Canada | Source of Wealth: Media | Net Worth: $67.8 Billion

Thomson took over as the chair of Thomson Corporation, the Toronto-based media empire started by his grandfather Roy Thomson, after his father’s death in 2006. Two years later, he led the crucial merger of his family’s Thomson Corporation with news agency Reuters in 2008. The family’s net worth has tripled since—from $22 billion to more than $66 billion today.

5. Alice Walton

Age: 74 | Citizenship: U.S. | Source of Wealth: Walmart | Net Worth: $72.3 Billion

Dubbed the “misfit” of the Walton heirs in a 2013 Forbes profile, Walmart founder Sam Walton’s only daughter has steered mostly clear of working for the family business. She’s instead dedicated her time to passions like horse breeding and art collecting, opening the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in her hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas in 2011.

Walmart Holds Annual Multi-Day Shareholders Meeting In Arkansas
Getty Images
4. Rob Walton

Age: 79 | Citizenship: U.S. | Source of Wealth: Walmart | Net Worth: $77.4 Billion

The eldest Walton heir still has a seat on the company’s board of directors. He’s also the largest individual owner of the NFL’s Denver Broncos, which a group led by him bought in June 2022 for a record $4.7 billion. The team is now worth an estimated $5.1 billion.

3. Jim Walton

Age: 75 | Citizenship: U.S. | Source of Wealth: Walmart | Net Worth: $78.4 Billion

The youngest son of Sam Walton owns an estimated 12% of the mega-retailer his father founded in 1962. He and his two siblings, Rob and Alice, who own the same amount, added a combined $58 billion to their fortunes over the past year as Walmart’s shares jumped nearly 20%. After more than a decade on Walmart’s board of directors, Jim handed his seat to his son Steuart in 2016 and now focuses on running the family’s Arvest Bank.

2. Françoise Bettencourt Meyers & family

Age: 70 | Citizenship: France | Source of Wealth: L’Oréal | Net Worth: $99.5 Billion

Bettencourt Meyers is the richest woman in the world for the fourth year in a row thanks to her 33% stake in L’Oréal, the cosmetics and beauty giant started by her chemist grandfather Eugène Paul Louis Schueller in 1909. The billionaire heiress is the vice chair of L’Oréal’s board of directors and the chairwoman of her family’s investment firm, Téthys Invest. She first appeared on Forbes’ billionaires list in 2018, a year after the death of her mother, Liliane Bettencourt.

1. Mukesh Ambani

Mukesh Ambani with his wife Nita Ambani in January.

AFP via Getty Images

Age: 66 | Citizenship: India | Source of Wealth: Diversified | Net Worth: $116 Billion

Mukesh and his brother Anil inherited India’s biggest fortune from their father Dhirubhai Ambani (d. 2002). An ugly battle for control of the company led to a split between the brothers. While Anil dropped from the billionaire rankings after many of his companies fell into bankruptcy, Mukesh, whose empire spans petrochemicals, oil and gas, telecom and retail, is now the richest person in Asia.

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