A Seattle couple have left their entire estate, close to $900,000, “to the government of the United States of America” in their wills, according to the lawyer who administered the estate.
U.S. assistant attorney Peter Winn told ABC News that he worked with the U.S. Treasury Department to accept the money on behalf of the government and has deposited a cashier’s check for $847,215.57 into the U.S. Treasury’s general funds on May 13.
Peter Petrasek and Joan Petrasek never explained why they donated their whole estate to the U.S. government, but Winn believes it to be a “thank you” to the country which took them in after the couple fled from Nazi-occupied eastern Europe during World War II.
1. Peter Petrasek and Joan Petrasek (pictured) left their entire estate, close to $900,000, “to the government of the United States of America” in their wills.
This case is interesting because it seems to be that these were two immigrants who felt grateful to have this adoptive country open its arms to them after having a hard time in eastern Europe during World War II.
It really reminds you how this country was founded by immigrants, and it’s pretty obvious these folks felt pretty proud they were U.S. citizens.
The process of fulfilling the couple’s wishes through their wills took just over three years.
Peter Petrasek died on May 20, 2012, aged 85, while his wife Joan Petrasek died of breast cancer 14 years earlier, attorney Carrie Balkema told ABC News.
2. A cashier’s check for $847,215.57 was deposited into the U.S. Treasury’s general funds on May 13.
Balkema explained that she was contacted by the Petraseks’ neighbor Ronald Wright after Peter’s death in 2012. Wright had been assigned to be the will’s executor because the Petraseks had no living relatives or children and he hired Balkema to help him.
Balkema helped sell the house and other money came from the Petraseks’ existing bank accounts, which had money from the stocks Peter had owned and liquidated. Balkema said:
He [Peter] was a quite frugal man. He had jugs of recycled oil that he used to … power his oil furnace.
Speaking of the couple’s gift to the U.S. government, Balkema said she felt both “curious and kind of sad”. She thought Peter Petrasek felt he had no one else to receive his estate and money.
Source: ABC News.
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