I read this article a while ago about Joseph Flom, a lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meaghar & Flom LLP in New York who grew up very humbly, and built his firm into a global company with 24 offices around the world (including one in Toronto). When he died in February last year, he left the majority of his considerable estate to various charities – $50 million to a charitable foundation that funds organizations like the Innocence Project, $2 million to Harvard Law School for research on health law and bioethics, and $1 million to a fellowship to allow law students and young lawyers pursue public interest work., among other bequests. His son was quoted as saying that he expected his children to earn their own way, and that he intended for his estate to go to charity.
As an estate planning lawyer, I advise my clients on a regular basis about the benefits (financial and otherwise) of leaving money to charitable organizations. Joseph Flom lived this.