Adolf Merckle, Bernie Madoff: 2 billionaires, 2 marriages, 2 wives named Ruth, the suicide and the money

Everybody’s heard by now that Billionaires are taking a very serious beating right now. Walter Noel and Monica Noel have lost billions on account of Bernard Madoff’s ponzi scheme. Kirk Kerkorian is having trouble too. Donald Trump is having a tower of financial problems, according to Crains. Bernie Madoff is pretty much cooked. Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, a billionaire Madoff crony and investor shot himself at his desk (or murdered himself by some other means while sitting at his desk in his office!) Now, German billionaire Adolf Merckle has walked in front of a train and committed suicide.
I think the world’s billionaires need intervention. They need counseling. I’m very serious.  In the meantime, our prayers are with Merckle and his family…
What did Bernie and Adolf have in common other than money? They both had wives named Ruth, wives who played a supportive role in their businesses. The fate of Bernie Madoff’s marriage to Ruth Madoff is still in question. Right now she is supporting her man and they are both holed up in their Upper East Side pent house (even though prosecutors have asked the judge to lock him up in jail pending the trial, without bail).  I suspect that after the trial, he will surely receive a life sentence and Ruth will obtain a divorce from him if she wants to move on with her life. She may not, as she may be deeply in love with her husband and could not bear to “abandon” him in his moment of need. But time will tell just how strong her commitment to the marriage is.
By all accounts, Adolf Merckle and Ruth Merckle also had a very strong marriage. When he killed himself, he left a suicide note. I am sure he also had a will. If he died intestate, without a will, then Ruth would be subject to German Inheritance Law as it relates to “intestate succession.”
Here is what I found out about German Intestate Law at www.hg.org. The following was excerpted from that website:
If the spouses were living under the statutory property regime of community of surplus (“Zugewinngemeinschaft”) the surviving spouse’s intestate share is increased by one fourth as a lump sum for the regular equalization of the surplus (see §§1931 III, 1371 I BGB).
If the spouses were living under the contractual property regime of separation of property (“Gütertrennung”), §1931 IV BGB modifies the surviving spouse’s share as follows: The surviving spouse inherits together with one or two children or their issue (excluding other relatives) in equal shares. If there is only one child, the child and the spouse thus each inherit one half of the estate. If there are two children, the spouse inherits 1/3. If there are more than two children, however, the spouse’s share is one fourth.
If the spouses were living under the contractual regime of community of property (“Gütergemeinschaft”), the provisions of § 1931 I and II BGB apply without modification. In particular, the spouse’s share remains one fourth, even if he inherits together with only one or two children. The deceased’s share in the joint property (Gesamtgut, § 1416 BGB) falls to his estate and is inherited according to the provisions of the law of succession (§ 1482 BGB). The spouses may provide that after the death of one of them the commu­nity will be continued between the surviving spouse and their joint issue (§ 1483 BGB). In this case, the deceased’s share in the joint property does not fall to his estate and the joint ownership is continued between the surviving spouse and those descendants who are called to inherit under the rules of intestate succession. Only the deceased’s separate and reserved property is then inherited according to the principles of the law of succession (§ 1483 I 3 BGB).
Ruth Merckle is definitely in a better position than Ruth Madoff. Ruth Madoff will come out of her marriage totally destitute. But Ruth Merckle will get something from her husband’s fortune, at least 25%, in spite of his tragic demise. I say 25% because Ruth and Adolf Merckle ( I almost said Adolf Hitler but only because I saw Tom Cruise’s hit movie Valkyrie last night and so I have Hitler on the brain; it’s not becuase they are both German and both named Adolf and both committed suicide) have four kids – Jutta Merckle, Tobias Merckle, Ludwig Merckle and Phillip Merckle so Ruth will take subject to them. She gets 25% at most, I think…
But, so, on a different note, at least, nobody can call Bernard Madoff a coward. He  didn’t kill himself. He faced the music. He admitted his wrong. I give him credit for that. Why couldn’t Adolf Merckle had taken a page from Bernard Madoff’s pamphlet in this regard? Because it is not even as if Adolf Merckle’s assets were completely depleted. I mean, he messed up big time with that Volkswagen hedge, but he could have bounced back; I am sure there’s money left. It’s not as if he was totally bankrupt and facing jail. He was just having some financial problems. But he let it get the better of him mentally.
I, for one, wish he would have remembered that it was just money.