Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, December 2, 2022

A Chicago Man Quietly Left Behind $11 Million — The Largest Unclaimed Estate In American History

A Chicago man passed away without a will, leaving behind the largest unclaimed estate in United States history. Investigators spent years pulling records to compile a family tree of possible heirs to distribute the $11 million estate. They found 119 distant cousins, none of whom knew Joseph Stancak.

The distant relatives live all over the world, between Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. After compiling the results, attorneys are left with a scroll of the family tree that is 15 feet long.


It will take one to four years to disturb the money to each relative, with the average check in the $60,000 range. 

For more information see Mack Liederman “A Chicago Man Quietly Left Behind $11 Million— The Largest Unclaimed Estate in American History”, Block Club Chicago, October 24, 2022.

Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.


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