Dying Wealthy Yet Intestate
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.