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Marlene Engelhorn recently faced the task of allocating her €25 million (£21.5 million) inheritance received from her late grandmother, Traudl Engelhorn-Vechiatto. The Austrian is a descendant of Friedrich Engelhorn, the founder of the prominent German chemical and pharmaceutical company, BASF. Following her grandmother’s passing in September 2022, Engelhorn became the heiress of this substantial inheritance.

The heiress is looking for likeminded individuals to help her distribute her wealth into facets aligning with her moral beliefs. Engelhorn has been a vocal proponent of wealth redistribution, playing a key role in the establishment of ‘Tax Me Now.’ This organization comprises affluent individuals in German-speaking regions who advocate for increased taxes on the wealthy. The question arises…

What specific approach is she employing to address this matter?

She has extended 10,000 invitations to Austrian citizens aged 16 and above. These individuals have been randomly chosen to participate in the Good Council for Redistribution, consisting of 50 selected participants and 15 substitutes. The council is scheduled to collaborate with civil-society organisations and academics during its sessions in Salzburg from March to June.

Participants in the council will receive $1,300 for each weekend they attend, covering travel and childcare expenses. This council will have key decision making power on where 90% of the fortune will be allocated, to benefit a broader group of people. This initiative appears to significantly address wealth redistribution simply by seeking input from the people.

Engelhorn, who acknowledges her financial privilege by inheriting a multi-million dollar fortune, has previously expressed her support for higher taxes on the wealthiest one percent in society. In August 2022, she participated in the Millionaires for Humanity event in Amsterdam, advocating for increased taxes on the rich. Engelhorn found it troublesome that not one penny of her newfound fortune would be taxed, yet those with lower incomes will be. This is because Austrias abolishment of taxes on gifts and inheritances in 2008.

Blanchards stance on inheritance tax

Blanchards happen to agree with Austrias stance on this. The UKs tax for inheritance is 40% for anything over £325,000 which we believe to be extortionate. Like many UK residents, we do not believe you should be taxed after you die and agree with Austrias abolishment of inheritance tax. However, this isn’t quite the belief of Engelhorn. She hasn’t said about inheritance tax in general for Austria, only that she believes her inheritance should be taxed due to the huge value.

We look forward to seeing what change the social justice advocate can make with her fortune.

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