This was Doris Duke's predicament. She was worth $1.2 billion, but had no relatives or friends she particularly cared to enrich so massively when she died. Instead, she decided with immodesty befitting one of the world's richest women that her estate would go toward "the improvement of humanity," as her will said. Her money would allow dancers to dance, artists to paint, doctors to cure diseases, animals to escape the cruelty of people.
There is nothing like a will to give billionaire watchers something to gab about. And one morsel in Harry B. Helmsley's estate should keep them buzzing for quite a while.
The New York real-estate mogul, who by most accounts was golden-hearted compared with his wife, Leona, left Ceil Fried, his longtime secretary, $25,000, a minuscule part of his $1.7 billion estate. That is all that decades of dictation, menial tasks and juggling one of the world's busiest social schedules was worth to Helmsley.