Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Indianapolis' secret millionaire! Veteran charity worker who lived 'unbelievably' frugal life leaves $13M to charities - but some missed out because they thought it was a scam!

MoneyTerry Kahn, who worked for the Veterans Administration for 30 years, quietly passed away in 2021, leaving behind $13 million for local charities in his will. Kahn, who lived modestly in Indianapolis, had no immediate family and specified only to donate his money to charity without naming a specific organization. 

Kahn's attorney, Dwayne Isaacs, had the unique task of calling local charities to offer them millions of dollars. Some charities initially thought it was a scam and missed out on the donation. However, a dozen nonprofits benefited from Kahn's generosity, including Teachers' Treasure, Helping Veterans and Families of Indiana, and Coburn Place. Kahn's frugal lifestyle, including avoiding a cell phone for cost reasons, allowed him to make a significant impact on his estate.

For more information see Martha Williams “Indianapolis’ secret millionaire! Veteran charity worker who lived ‘unbelievably’ frugal life and didn’t even own a cell ‘because it cost too much’ leaves $13M to charities”, The Daily Mail, December 9, 2023.

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


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