A couple from Seattle has written identical wills in which they leave their estate to the Government of the United States of America. The couple met after the husband escaped Europe occupied by Nazis and came to the U.S.
Peter and Joan Petrasek arranged for a cashier check summing up to USD 847,215.57 to be sent to the Department of Treasury on May 13, media report. It took several years for the process to be finalized – Joan died in 1998 and Peter in 2012. It was not until now that the check reached its destination.
Although it was not explicitly said why the couple decided for this move, it is believed that the gesture was a sign of gratitude – Peter fled Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia and Joan was also an immigrant, from Ireland. U.S. assistant attorney Peter Win said that this is an interesting case because it looks like these two people were grateful to their adoptive country. “It’s pretty obvious these folks felt pretty proud they were U.S. citizens,” he said.
This is the first time someone has left their estate to the United States, although numerous people so far donated arts to American museums after they passed away. It is not known, however, whether the couple had relatives to which they could have left their property. In any case, this generous move is surely a precedent in the American history.
Photo attribution: Joe Mabel