Austrian heiress lets strangers decide fate of inheritance worth $27m

After inheriting money from her grandmother, heiress asked 50 random strangers to help distribute her wealth

Web Desk
Marlene Engelhorn is an outspoken advocate for wealth redistribution. — AFP/File

An Austrian heiress Marlene Engelhorn — who inherited millions of euros from her grandmother — has asked strangers to decide the fate of her inheritance wealth worth $27 million.

After inheriting the money from her grandmother, Traudl Engelhorn-Vechiatto, who died in September 2022, Marlene sent out requests to 50 randomly-selected Austrian nationals to help distribute her wealth, reported the New York Times.

In response, the group "Good Council for Redistribution" has shared its plan with the heiress on how she can re-distribute the wealth, Business Insider mentioned in a report.

It suggested awarding the money to 77 charities over several years. These charitable initiatives include women's shelter associations, children-related charities, and climate crisis organisations.

The largest share out of the wealth was designated for the environmental organisations Naturschutzbund Osterreich, with other potential beneficiaries including the World Inequality Lab, Reporters Without Borders, and Catholic Charity Caritas.

The 50 people chosen for the decision met over six weekends and held meetings with experts from different areas including those from poverty research and law, among others.

All of these participants were given travel fares as well as childcare.

Marlene is a vocal advocate for wealth redistribution. She has, in the past, supported in favour of inheritance tax to be instated in law.

In a statement clarifying her position, Marlene said: "A large part of my inherited wealth, which elevated me to a position of power simply by virtue of my birth, contradicting every democratic principle, has now been redistributed in accordance with democratic values."