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Bezos divorce settlement may be the largest in history

Texas residents have probably heard about the divorce of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. What they may not know is that his wife, MacKenzie, is about to become the third-richest woman in the world. When their divorce is finalized, her net worth will be more than $35 billion. She will only be surpassed by L'Oréal's Francoise Bettencourt Meyers and Walmart's Alice Walton, respectively worth about $53 billion and $45 billion.

After 25 years of marriage, the Bezoses announced their divorce in January. They filed a petition in April and expect to receive a final decree by July. As part of their divorce settlement, MacKenzie will receive approximately 4% of Amazon's stock, which represents about 25% of Jeff's stake in the company.

Jeff will have voting control of MacKenzie's shares unless she gives them to a qualifying facility or sells them on the open market. If she transfers any of her shares, the recipient must also agree to give voting rights to Jeff. Even after the transfer, Jeff Bezos will remain the richest person in the world. His net worth of around $110 billion exceeds that of Bill Gates by approximately $10 billion. MacKenzie Bezos will join the list of the world's richest people at number 26.

The Bezos divorce settlement will likely go down as the largest one in history. Undoubtedly, the details are quite complex. Even in smaller divorce cases, due consideration needs to be given to such things as stock holdings, retirement funds and real estate in order to ensure an equal division of property and avoid unintended tax consequences. In such cases, it might be a good idea for a person going through a divorce to seek the advice of an attorney with experience in high-asset divorces.

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