$40 Million No Heirs: Could You Inherit Roman Blum's Fortune?
Roman Blum passed away in January 2012 at 97 years of age, leaving behind $40 million and no heirs. According to the New York Times, Blum's body stayed in the Staten Island University Hospital morgue for four days before a rabbi at the hospital was finally able to track Blum's lawyer.
Roman Blum was a survivor of the Holocaust who eventually made a fortune as a real estate developer. As Blum's wife died in 1992 and the couple did not have any children, there are no surviving members of the family to accept the $40 million. What's more, a worldwide search for heirs did not find any living relatives either, according to Forbes.
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A race against time, any individual that is eligible to claim Roman Blum's fortune must do so within three years of Blum's death. However, if there is still no one to claim Blum's assets, then a rule known as "escheat" will allow the State of New York to claim his fortune instead.
Leading a remarkable life, Roman Blum survived the Holocaust and made a fortune in real estate. However, friends are surprised that Blum would allow his life to end without preparation.
"He was a very smart man but he died like an idiot," said Paul Skurka, a fellow Holocaust survivor who first met Roman Blum when he did carpentry work for him in the 1970s.
Public administrator Gary D. Gotlin has sold Mr. Blum's home on Staten Island and will auction off his jewelry and furniture as well. Gotlin will also use money from Mr. Blum's estate to conduct an in-depth, and no doubt costly, search for a will. A genealogist will be hired to search for relatives.
"I spoke to Roman many times before he passed away, and he knew what to do, how to name beneficiaries," said Mason D. Corn, his accountant and friend for 30 years. "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."
Roman Blum now rests at the New Montefiore Jewish Cemetery in West Babylon, NY. A small number of mourners, mostly fellow survivors or the children of survivors, attended Blum's funeral.
Do you think you might be a lost relative of Holocaust survivor and wealthy real estate developer, Roman Blum? Contact Gary D. Gotlin's office, which is overseen by Richmond County Surrogate's Court.
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