State May Get $40 Million from Man Who Died With No Will

Last year, 2.5 million Americans died. As a recent article explains, many of these Americans died without having signed a valid will. One of these Americans was Holocaust survivor Roman Blum. A resident of New York, Blum died with an estate worth approximately $40 million.

Will (Photo credit: mstephens7)

Since Blum’s death, a worldwide search for heirs has failed to turn up a single living relative. Under the legal theory of escheat, if no living heir comes forward to claim his assets, his entire fortune will go to the State of New York. Blum’s case should serve as a reminder to everyone to prepare a will.

Even if Blum didn’t have any living relatives that he wanted to leave assets to, it is highly likely that there were people he cared about in his life. He could have wanted a co-worker, neighbor, or friend to benefit from his estate. Unfortunately, unless such wishes are made known in a will, they cannot be enforced.

Blum could also have directed that his assets go to a charity that he was passionate about. Charitable giving is a great way to put assets to good use in life or in death. Every estate should minimally create a clause through which, should all named beneficiaries predecease the creator, the money would go to a charity rather than a distant relative that comes out of the woodwork for an easy payday.

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