After a person passes away, loved ones and family members often struggle with many challenges on top of the grief of losing someone. Many times, these challenges involve the execution of a will. A person's will is a very personal way of dispersing any assets or money that the person leaves behind, and sometimes friends and family members are very surprised by certain discoveries during the estate administration and probate process.
A person's will may end up surprising many people. He or she may include or omit certain people who were not expecting such treatment. There are also instances in which a person who has died has much more money than anyone else realized. In some other cases, people are very surprised to learn that not only is a person wealthy, but he or she has not left a will behind.
This was the case recently when a man who had led a relatively private and mysterious life passed away. He was a 97-year-old survivor of the Holocaust and counted a few other survivors as his friends. However, little else is known for certain about his life. Some people say he had been married and had a child before they both died in the Holocaust. The man had reportedly gotten remarried years later, but the couple divorced and never had children. Without any heirs that anyone knows about, the man's estate now lies in the hands of a public administrator.
But perhaps the biggest mystery about this man was what he left behind and what he did not. According to reports, the man was a very successful real estate developer and had built an estate worth about $40 million at the time of his death. To the best of anyone's knowledge, he had no will or plan in place that dictated what was to be done with the money after his death.
This means that the future of the man's estate is anything but secured. A large portion of his money will go towards tracking down any possible heirs and investigating whether or not a will was ever completed.
Even people who do not wish to leave anything to any of their relatives should strongly consider having a will. Rather than leaving an estate in the hands of a stranger, a will can ensure that a person's personal wishes are carried out after he or she has passed away.
Source: New York Times, “Holocaust survivor left $40 million, but no heirs,” Julie Satow, April 27, 2013