Roman Blum passed away in January of 2012 and left his estate, valued at nearly $40 million dollars, to no one. Mr. Blum, a holocaust survivor and real estate developer, apparently left behind no surviving family members – his former wife predeceased him and the couple was childless.
Despite an extensive search throughout the United States and Europe, no living heirs can be found, and no valid written will has yet been uncovered. If no heir and no will can be found within 3 years, that means Mr. Blum’s entire estate will pass to the State of New York. The technical legal term is “escheat”. When no heirs and will can be found, the assets pass to the State of residence.
Recently, two people have come forward claiming to have a will that leaves everything to them. However, both are believed, at this time, to be fakes.
Mr. Blum provides a few lessons:
- Get your wishes in writing. If you do not provide a written estate plan, the State has one for you. It may not be what you would have wanted and your assets may not go where you would assume.
- Make sure someone knows where your written estate plan is kept so that it can be found in the event anything ever happened to you.
- Don’t procrastinate. Mr. Blum’s friend and accountant finally got Roman to agree to prepare a will – however, he passed away 2 weeks later, before following up.
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