$40 Million And No Heirs: New York State May Claim Man’s Fortune

What do you do when you have $40 million and no heirs? New York State will soon find out as they determine what to do with Roman Blum’s unclaimed fortune.

Blum, a holocaust survivor, passed away in January 2012 at the age of 97. Blum has no living relatives and no heirs to claim his $40 million fortune. According to Forbes, if no one steps forward within the next three years, all of his money will go to the state of New York.

Paul Skurka, a friend of Blum’s, said: “He was a very smart man but he died like an idiot.”

The NY Times reports that Blum doesn’t have any surviving relatives. His wife passed away in 1992, and he didn’t have any children. Blum also failed to make a will before he died. Blum may have wanted his money to go to a certain charity or to a group of friends, but, if there is no will, there is no legal way to give away the money.

Gary D. Gotlin, the public administrator working on Blum’s case, has already sold the man’s home and auctioned off his jewelry, furniture, and other assets. Gotlin has also hired a genealogist in an attempt to track down a relative. If Gotlin is not successful, the money will end up going to the state of New York.

Without a will, the state has to determine how to disperse of a person’s estate. Typically, the money would go to the person’s first spouse. If the spouse has passed away, the money then goes to the children, parents, or siblings of the deceased. In the case of Mr. Blum, the state doesn’t have anyone to give the money to.

Blum, a real estate developer, was urged by his accountant to make a will before he passed away, but, by the time Blum agreed to sit down and talk about his fortune, it was too late.

Mason D. Corn said, “I spoke to Roman many times before he passed away, and he knew what to do, how to name beneficiaries … Two weeks before he died, I had finally gotten him to sit down. He saw the end was coming. He was becoming mentally feeble. We agreed. I had to go away, and so he told me, ‘O.K., when you come back I will do it.’ But by then it was too late. We came this close, but we missed the boat.”