A Seattle couple, who met after the husband fled Nazi-occupied Europe to American shores, have left their entire estate the “to the government of the United States of America” in their identical wills, reports ABC.
A cashier’s check for $847,215.57 was received and deposited into the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s general funds on May 13, according to U.S. assistant attorney Peter Winn, who told ABC News today that he was the one who worked with the Treasury Department to accept the money on behalf of the government.
Peter, originally of the Czech Republic, died at age 85 from heart failure on May 5, 2012. Joan died 13 years earlier from breast cancer at age 79, reports the New York Daily News.
They had no next of kin, and it took three years to get their estate settled.
The New York Daily News adds:
Peter was 12 years old when the Nazis invaded his hometown of Prague, neighbor Ron Wright said. He was sent to a Nazi work for children for work associated with the German Air Force. There, he learned to fly.
Pete was somehow able to escape the Holocaust when his plane was shot down, allowing him to hike into Switzerland, Wright said. It’s unclear what his mission was.
Peter’s sister was killed in an Allied bombing of Dresden, where she was sent to work at a factory. His mother was left behind in Prague. His father had been sent to a concentration camp. All of their belongings were confiscated by the Nazis.
“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,” said Peter Winn, the U.S. assistant attorney who helped handle the case, told the broadcaster.
According to NBC, the entire process of fulfilling the Petrasek’s wishes on their wills took a little more than three years. Peter Petrasek died on May 20, 2012, at 85, attorney Carrie Balkema told ABC News today, adding that his wife, Joan Petrasek, died of breast cancer in 1998.
“It’s pretty obvious these folks felt pretty proud they were U.S. citizens.”
A spokesman for the Treasury said their estate money will go into the general fund. The treasury does not track how many people have left money to the government in their wills, he said.
The Petraseks’ estate will make up just a fraction of the U.S.’ budget for spending of $3.5 trillion last year.