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Life insurance is about love. A life insurance policy guarantees
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Back to the Foundation Blog

Don't let the state take your estate

Posted by Robert Heuermann

This article originally appeared in the May-June 2013 edition of Our Catholic Journey, the official publication of Catholic United Financial.


Nearly 2.5 million Americans died last year, many without ever making a will. One of them was Roman Blum, a Holocaust survivor and New York real estate developer who was worth almost $40 million when he passed away in January 2012 at the age of 97. A worldwide search for heirs has yet to yield a single living relative. In three years, if there's still no evidence of Blum's estate plan and no one comes forward to claim his assets, all that money will go to New York State.

Everyone seems to ask the same question: Was there nothing he cared about? Even if he had no living relatives, there must have been some person or some issue that he cared deeply about. Maybe he loved the state of New York so much that he didn't mind giving it all to the government, but I find that hard to believe. I have to think that the only reason he didn't have a clear estate plan in place was a belief that many of us share, or delude ourselves with: that he had plenty of time. Death isn't near, it's some far off abstraction in the future.

"The only reason he didn't have a clear estate plan in place was a belief that many of us share...that he had plenty of time."

Death and taxes are often called the only certainties in life. With that in mind, have you made your plan? Regardless of your politics, who do you want deciding where your life's work is spent? Your family, or your elected officials?

There are lessons to be learned from Blum's story: provide for those you care about, especially those who are not related to you; keep your beneficiaries list up-to-date; designate the charities you want to benefit from your estate; sign your health care and legal proxies, make your documents accessible so your estate can be settled easily. Most important, don't procrastinate. Even if your health is excellent, death due to accident, bad luck and Mother Nature cannot be predicted.

If you would like help creating or updating your Estate Plan, contact your Catholic United Financial Sales Representative today. We can also help you plan for lasting and impactful charitable giving either in your estate or during your life.

Since he had no will or plan in place, we may never know what mattered to Roman Blum: who he loved, what he cared about, or what legacy he wished to leave behind. Don't wait another minute to protect what you've worked for and provide for what you care about.

Copyright 2013 Catholic United Financial. No portion may be reproduced in any type of media without the express written consent of Catholic United Financial.


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