Tuesday, April 30, 2013

$40 million no heirs

$40 million no heirs, A Holocaust survivor’s $40 million fortune could go to the state of New York, as Roman Blum died without any heirs.

Blum was a real estate developer who died at the age of 97 in January 2012, the New York Times reports. After World War II, the holocaust survivor emigrated from Poland to New York, and the Times profile paints the man to be quite the mystery. Blum did not leave a will, and his official birthday has two conflicting dates, either Sept. 16, 1944, based on U.S. records or Sept. 14 based on German records, and his birthplace is also in question. Blum said he was from Warsaw, Poland, while those who knew him said he was from Chelm, Poland.

Blum’s former wife died in 1992, and the couple did not have any children nor did Blum remarry. The Holocaust survivor built hundreds of houses in Staten Island, according to the NYT profile. But despite his success and fortune, Blum did not leave a will, and the public administrator who is handling his estate, Gary D. Gotlin, is beginning the search for an heir.

Gotlin will use some of Blum’s $40 million fortune to settle Blum’s accounts, including any outstanding taxes, while also putting his property on the market. Gotlin will also hire a genealogist and will continue to look for a possible will that Blum left behind.

Blum was in the final stages of creating a will, according to his accountant, Mason D. Corn, who said that his friend of 30 years finally agreed to name his beneficiaries but died before he could create the will, NYT notes.

“He saw the end was coming," Corn said. "He was becoming mentally feeble. We agreed. I had to go away, and so he told me, ‘OK, when you come back, I will do it.’ But by then, it was too late. We came this close, but we missed the boat.”

Blum’s NYT profile includes how he fled Poland, arriving in Russia where he was imprisoned for a brief amount of time before fighting against the Nazis. Blum met his former wife, Eva, after the war, and she was a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Before arriving in New York, the Blums spent time in Germany, where Roman worked as a smuggler. The Blums finally settled in Forrest Hills, Queens, N.Y., in 1949, NYT reports.

The profile paints Blum to be a successful businessman who had plenty of flaws, leaving his wife to live in Staten Island and enjoying his life, money and time as a bachelor. And, later in life, Blum became increasingly suspicious of people, believing they wanted his money.

If the search for an heir or will yield no results, Blum’s fortune will transfer to New York City’s Department of Finance, where it will sit for three years before going to the New York State Comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds. A portion of Blum’s fortune will go to New York’s general fund, but, if an heir does emerge, Blum’s fortune will go to that individual.

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