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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Friday, May 3, 2013

Dying Wealthy Yet Intestate

Time and again we hear this sage advice, usually from our probate attorney friends: "get your estate plan in order because you want to avoid dying intestate" [i.e. without a will or estate plan of any kind].

As a Public Administrator here in Oakland County, I had to appreciate this story from last Sunday's NYT: He Left a Fortune, to No One.  The article profiles 97-year old Holocaust survivor Roman Blum whose estate is estimated to be worth $40 million, but who died last year without a will or any other estate plan.

Those that knew Mr. Blum, a resident of New York, heard him tell of a wife and child that perished in a concentration camp in Poland during WWII.  His American wife died in 1992; the couple was childless.

One of Blum's friends interviewed in the article stated that she was able to get Roman to agree to see a probate lawyer in order to execute an estate plan.  She was even going to take him to see the lawyer after she returned from a trip, but it was too late -Mr. Blum passed away before she returned.

So what now becomes of Mr. Blum's substantial estate?  It is in the hands of a Public Administrator; an attorney that is appointed to manage the estate of a decedent when there is no family or other specifically nominated persons to do so.

And where does Blum's significant estate go?  To the state of New York.  And I am sure we can all agree that this is the best repository for Mr. Blum's millions.

Blum is probably turning over in his grave; also something that the Public Administrator had to arrange.  One of the decedent's friends, himself a Holocaust survivor, put it bluntly in the NYT article: "He was a very smart man but he died like an idiot."

Don't be that guy.  Hire a probate lawyer to plan your estate.

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Blogger Layne Adams said...

Find and choosing an experienced estate attorney who understands the ins and outs of estate planning and applicable laws in your state to ensure your wishes are carried out in the manner you choose.
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May 28, 2013 at 1:33 AM 
Blogger Jannah Delfin said...

Thank you for sharing this information.

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December 11, 2013 at 3:25 AM 
Blogger costlules said...

So what now becomes of Mr. Blum's substantial estate? It's in the arms of a Public Administrator; an lawyer that is appointed to manage the estate of a decedent when there isn't any household or different particularly nominated persons to take action.

February 23, 2015 at 2:06 AM 
Blogger Timothy P. Flynn said...


The estate will go to the State of New York; when a person dies intestate and without heirs at law, the state takes the gain. He should have had an estate plan.

February 23, 2015 at 7:32 AM 

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