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He Left A Fortune, To No One

Publication Date: 
April 27, 2013
The New York Times
Julie Satow

Professor Burt Neuborne spoke with the New York Times' Julie Satow about determining the inheritance of an estate without a will and the likelihood of finding "collateral heirs" before resorting to state coffers.

When Roman Blum died last year at age 97, his body lingered in the Staten Island University Hospital morgue for four days, until a rabbi at the hospital was able to track down his lawyer.

Mr. Blum, a Holocaust survivor and real estate developer, left behind no heirs and no surviving family members — his former wife died in 1992 and the couple was childless. His funeral, held graveside at the New Montefiore Jewish Cemetery in West Babylon, N.Y., was attended by a small number of mourners, most of them elderly fellow survivors or children of survivors.


"It wouldn’t be that uncommon to uncover collateral heirs" said Burt Neuborne, the civil liberties defender who was the lead counsel in recent Holocaust litigation against Swiss banks. We often found that someone, like a third cousin twice removed, would come forward."