It's a well-known fact that Bill and Melinda Gates' three children will not inherit the billions of wealth amassed by Microsoft.
Instead, the couple's three children – Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18 – will be left US$10 million each.
But the divorce of Bill and Melinda, announced earlier this month, could change that.
Celebrity divorce experts say the legal team Melinda has employed to help her navigate her split from the Microsoft founder – including some of America's top trust and estate lawyers – could help her wrangle more from the divorce.
High-profile divorce lawyers Harriet Newman Cohen and Martha Cohen Stine, told the New York Post that it was "most unusual for trust and estate lawyers' names to be listed on a divorce filing".
Newman Cohen and Cohen Stine are not involved in the Gates' divorce but are well-versed in high-profile divorces and have previously represented New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the ex-wives of Harvey and Bob Weinstein, NBA star Paul George, actor Laurence Fishburne, Howard Stern's ex-wife and the former wife of Louis CK.
"Bill Gates proudly announced to the world he was leaving US$10 million to each of his three children, and that the rest of the billions will be left to charity," Newman Cohen said.
"Now that Melinda has control – maybe she wanted to leave more to her children than US$10 million each. Maybe she didn't agree."
Melinda is being represented by top divorce lawyer Robert Cohen of Cohen Clair Lans Greifer Thorpe & Rottenstreich – whose clients have included Michael Bloomberg and Ivana Trump.
She has also listed estate planning lawyer Loretta Ippolito of Paul Weiss, as well as the firm's Bruce Birenboim, who has represented Citigroup and the NFL.
Over the years, Bill has spoken about how much he planned to leave his children.
In a 2016 interview on British breakfast show This Morning, the Microsoft boss said his children were "proud" of his decision to dedicate most of his fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
"Our kids will receive a great education and some money so they are never going to be poorly off but they'll go out and have their own career," he said.
"It's not a favour to kids to have them have huge sums of wealth. It distorts anything they might do, creating their own path."
Gates' squeaky clean image as a philanthropic family man is getting murkier by the day, two weeks after he and Melinda announced their divorce.
Since then, the problems that likely led to the end of the couple's marriage have continued to emerge.
Stories of Gates' allegedly awkward behaviour with female employees, weekend retreats with ex-girlfriends and a little-known connection to Jeffrey Epstein have all emerged – with reports suggesting the Microsoft founder was up to much more than tirelessly building his tech business and charity.
A spokeswoman for Gates has strongly denied any wrongdoing on his behalf.
An investigation by The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported Microsoft board members decided it best that Gates step down from its board in 2020 after an internal investigation found a prior romantic relationship with one of the company's engineers was "inappropriate".
The female Microsoft engineer wrote a letter to the board in late 2019, alleging she and Gates had been in a sexual relationship for years.
"Microsoft received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Bill Gates sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000," a Microsoft spokesman told The Wall Street Journal.
"A committee of the Board reviewed the concern, aided by an outside law firm to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern."
Gates' spokeswoman said the affair had "ended amicably" and his decision to step down from Microsoft's board in March 2020 was not linked to the investigation and instead linked to him wanting to focus more on his philanthropic work.