Shortly after Gloria Vanderbilt's death in June, news sources speculated her net worth to be around $200 million, but the "massive fortune" turned out to be a fraction of that. Vanderbilt's will stated that her son from her second marriage, Stan Stokowski, would inherit her co-op in Manhattan, valued at $1.2 million, and her son Anderson Cooper, worth over $100 million in his own right, would get the balance of her assets--which turned out to be only $1.5 million. This totals just slightly more than the $2.5 million Gloria Vanderbilt inherited when she was born. For a family that was once considered to be one of the wealthiest in the world, and a woman who worked her entire life, what happened to all the money?
Evidently, by the mid-20th century, most of the family's mansions on Fifth Avenue had been torn down. Then, in 1993, at the age of 69, Vanderbilt claimed that her lawyer and psychiatrist stole millions from her, and she had to sell her Southhampton mansion and five-story Manhattan townhouse to pay off debts and taxes. But perhaps the biggest reason for her dwindled wealth at her death was her philanthropic endeavors and personal pursuits. She was an actress, a model, an artist, a fashion designer, and a writer. While some of these flourished, others did not, and likely the most successful, her designer jeans empire, faded from fashion decades ago.
Still, her financial planning and professional endeavors brought her to 95 years old in style. And--there could still be something we don't know. Was there a trust for her assets that isn't going through probate? Since a living trust never needs to be filed with a court, either before or after death, we may never know.
Source: Wealth Management