A Golden Ending

Walter Samaszko, Jr. passed away in May of this year. He had been a recluse, and when odors started emanating from his Carson City, Nevada home, neighbors called the authorities. They discovered his body. No one knew his relatives were, so the house was cleaned out by the Clerk-Recorder’s office before the modest home (listed for just over $100,000) could be placed on the market.

They found quite a surprise: Austrian ducats, South African Kruggerrands, English Sovereigns, and US $20 gold pieces. All told, the gold is valued at about $7 million. The estate will be subject to the federal estate tax–the exclusion amount this year is $5.12 million–so the IRS will get about around $750,000. A first cousin in the San Francisco Bay Area will get the rest (after probate fees are paid), likely around $6 million. It doesn’t hurt that the current price of gold is just under $1,800 an ounce.

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