Usually, when you pass away all of the property you own will be distributed as part of your estate either by the dictates of your estate plan or by the laws of Intestate succession. However, have you ever wondered what might happen to property you have that you are not supposed to own? What happens to property that is not legal to own? That does not go to your heirs.
A recent case in Philadelphia illustrates this principle. In 1933 when President Roosevelt ordered the U.S. off of the gold standard, some gold coins that were issued that year were supposed to be turned into the government to be melted down. Recently, the heirs of coin dealer Israel Switt found some of these coins in a safety deposit box. Altogether, they are valued at $80 million. The heirs attempted to get these coins authenticated and the coins were quickly confiscated by federal authorities. It is still illegal to possess them.
To date, the heirs have been unsuccessful in their attempts to recover the coins from the government because you cannot leave property that is illegal to own to your heirs.
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