When you go through life without an estate plan you are taking certain risks. If you were to pass away without executing a last will or some other type of estate planning document such as a trust the state would ultimately be charged with the responsibility of distributing your assets.
There are laws of intestacy succession that would be followed. Each state has different laws regarding the exact details, but the succession rules are going to make your closest relatives the heirs to the estate.
However, what happens if you don’t have any relatives? This question is being raised in New York after the passing of 97-year-old Roman Blum.
Blum was a very wealthy man when he died. He had amassed a fortune of around $40 million during his career as a real estate developer.
The state of New York has been trying to find a relative or relatives of Blum since he passed away, but they have had no luck. Under the laws of the state of New York if no one comes forward after three years the state will assume ownership of the funds.
This is a very unique case, and of course most people don’t have this kind of money. It does rather dramatically illustrate why it is important to plan ahead for the future.
Even if Blum had no blood relatives living, which is probably unlikely, you have to think that he knew someone that he cared about. Short of this he could have left his resources to a charity or charities rather than surrendering them to the state.