There’s a story floating around about a New York man who died in 2012 at 97, leaving a fortune worth $40 million…to no one. No children, no surviving family members, no heirs. A year later, if distant relatives in Poland cannot be found, it looks like his $40 million is going to the State of New York.
His name was Roman Blum (upper left, shirtless, in 1983), a Holocaust survivor and real estate developer. He built hundreds of homes across Long Island, NY. The state comptroller’s office told the New York Times that Mr. Blum is responsible for the largest unclaimed estate in New York State history.
According to the NY Times, “Roman Blum was, by all accounts, an emotional man with a large personality. Six feet tall and handsome, he was a ladies’ man, a gambler and a drinker. He was also enterprising and tough in business.”
Mr. Blum divorced his wife, Eva, after 50 years of marriage. She preceded him in death in 1992. The Times disclosed rumors that “Mrs. Blum had been a subject of the dreaded Dr. Josef Mengele while at Auschwitz, and his experiments had rendered her infertile.” Bless her.
It’s not Mrs. Blum who offers a lesson for today’s NotMoms. It’s her husband.
When asked about his friend and the status of his estate, Paul Skurka told reporters:
“He was a very smart man but he died like an idiot.”
People closest to Mr. Blum wonder if it was superstition or fear of his own mortality that left Mr. Blum without a will. One acquaintance still believes his friend has established a school, documented in a will that is still to be found.
I don’t want to die like that.
I don’t even have $1 million, but I want to be The Decider about where my stuff goes. A zillion non-profits are happy to receive bequests of any size. Like many of you, my will isn’t completed yet. Thanks, Mr. Blum, for the kick in the butt.
(Image Credit: Collection of Charles Goldgrub)