One man out of Chicago left behind a gigantic $11 million estate when he passed away, marking by far the largest amount of unclaimed assets seen in the history of the United States.
The estate of Joseph Stancak was divvied up across 119 of the man’s relatives, explained the Office of Illinois State Treasurer near the start of the month.
“Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs’ office made history this week when it returned $11 million to the estate of a Chicago man who died of natural causes just before Christmas in 2016,” explained the state agency.
The man passed away with no spouse, children, or will. Stancak died at the ripe old age of 87 in his home back in 2016, and it is still entirely unclear just how the man managed to amass this sum of money. He had six siblings, but they are all deceased with no children.
Rudy Quinn is the current president of Linking Assets Inc., a group that was created to discover unclaimed funds.
“No one knows what this guy did and what led him to diversify his wealth in the way that he did … And we didn’t know his property would balloon to $11 million,” explained Quinn. “We had to get creative.”
His relatives were discovered over the course of the past few years and quite a few of them did not actually live in the United States. None of them claimed to have known that the man had actually been a multi-millionaire, as reported by CBS News. Neighbors claimed that they did not know the man had been insanely rich either.
“We know very little. We know he passed away before Christmas in 2016. We know that he had over $11 million,” stated Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs.
“This is the largest unclaimed property return in Illinois history and national history,” he went on.
The search for Stancak’s remaining family had to be traced back through his family tree to discover anyone who could have been related to him.
“We had to find, basically, the baptismal records, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage records; everything that we could find,” stated Kenneth Piercey, a lawyer. Piercey is currently the representative of the Stancak estate and has been working with various research firms to discover more relatives. “The family had no idea and I think this will be life-changing for many of them.”
Despite the long time researching, the mystery still remains regarding just how the man ended up so wealthy and his neighbors stated to the outlet that he was known to save up his money, including through means such as doing home repairs himself instead of hiring others. Despite this, the man did own his own boat named “Easy” and Greg Rivara, the spokesperson for the treasurer’s office, claimed that he made normal investments into mutual funds.
“It is unclear how Mr. Stancak accumulated such wealth. In 2019, a variety of investments began to be turned over to the treasurer’s office as unclaimed property; such investments typically are surrendered if the owner has not had contact in three years and the investment firm is unable to locate the owner,” expressed Freirich’s office.