Man Leaves Behind $11 Million Unclaimed Estate, Largest In U.S. History, Shocking Relatives
Cropped Hand Giving Money Bag Against White Background - stock photo Photo taken in Chiang Rai, Thailand Theerapan Bhumirat / EyeEm via Getty Images
Theerapan Bhumirat / EyeEm via Getty Images

A man in Chicago passed away and left behind an $11 million estate, the most massive amount of unclaimed assets in the history of the United States.  

Joseph Stancak’s estate was distributed to 119 of the man’s relatives, the Office of Illinois State Treasurer reportedly said earlier this 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,” the agency said.

He died with no children, spouse, or will. Stancak died at the age of 87 in his home in 2016, and it is still unclear how he amassed his fortune. He had six siblings, but they are all deceased and had no children. 

Rudy Quinn is the president of Linking Assets Inc., which discovers 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,” Quinn said. “We had to get creative.”

His relatives were found over the course of years, and a lot of them did not live in the United States. None of them realized that he was a multi-millionaire, according to CBS News. Neighbors said they didn’t know the man was rich, either. 

“We know very little. We know he passed away before Christmas in 2016. We know that he had over $11 million,” Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said. 

“This is the largest unclaimed property return in Illinois history and national history,” he added.

The search for Stancak’s kin had to be traced back in his family line to find people who were related to him.

“We had to find, basically, the baptismal records, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage records; everything that we could find,” Lawyer Kenneth Piercey said. Piercey is the representative for Stancak’s estate and worked alongside a research firm to find the relatives. “The family had no idea and I think this will be life-changing for many of them.”

Still, the mystery remains as to how he became so wealthy and his neighbors told the outlet that he often saved money, including through fixing his home himself instead of hiring someone. However, he did have his own boat called “Easy” and the spokesperson for the treasurer’s office, Greg Rivara, reportedly said he made investments in 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,” Frerich’s office said. 

“This is a life-changing amount of money,” Frerichs said. “I only wish we knew more about Mr. Stancak.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Man Leaves Behind $11 Million Unclaimed Estate, Largest In U.S. History, Shocking Relatives