Process of settling millionaire recluse’s estate moves forward
September 26, 2012
Carson District Judge Todd Russell on Tuesday moved the process of settling a millionaire recluse’s estate forward, issuing orders that will enable administrators to appraise the thousands of gold coins, pay bills and confirm the identity of his heirs.Walter Samaszko Jr. was found dead in June at his modest home on North Mountain Street.Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover said he first thought it was just another death of a senior living alone. He called in Aftermath to clean up the place and Realtor Jeri Vine to prepare the home for sale to cover costs of the burial.But Vine called Glover back to the house after discovering thousands of coins — nearly all of them gold — in the home.“At that point, we took the house apart,” Glover said.Glover said with millions in gold, he moved immediately to get the case before a judge to ensure everything is handled properly.Russell directed Glover to pay Vine a $5,000 fee for handling the sale of the home — which already has offers to buy. He ordered a $5,574 payment to Aftermath, which had to deal with the body. Samaszko had been dead about a month when he was discovered.He authorized Glover to hire Howard Herz, a certified numismatist, to catalog and estimate values for all the coins. He directed Glover to hire International Genealogical Search Inc. to confirm that Samaszko’s first cousin, a substitute teacher named Arlene who lives in San Rafael, Calif., is in fact his only next of kin.Dawn Ellerbrock, the lawyer who took the case at Glover’s request before the gold was discovered, said those steps are necessary before the estate can be probated but that, after taxes and expenses, the goal is to get the most cash possible to the heir.“We think we know who the heir is but we want to be absolutely certain,” she said.Herz, she said, will get them a final total estimated value of Samaszko’s estate but that she believes it will be between $7 million and $10 million. She said she filed documents with the court Tuesday that include 28 pages, single spaced, listing the coins in Samaszko’s collection.The taxes, she said, will be between 35 and 38 percent of whatever amount is more than $5.2 million since everything below that escapes the estate tax.According to Glover, neighbors had no idea Samaszko was anything but a quiet senior and not a problem to anyone.Samaszko, 69, had lived in the house since the 1960s.