Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2019

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No word from teacher in line for $10 million inheritance

A California woman who stands to inherit $7 million to $10 million in gold coins from a reclusive distant relative was not at a hearing today regarding the estate.

Arlene Magdanz, a substitute school teacher from San Rafael, has been identified as a first cousin of Walter Samasko Jr., who had stashed the coin collection in boxes in his garage and home.

Samasko, 69, had only $200 in his bank account when he was found dead in his home in June. The gold and some silver coins were discovered as his house was being cleared out so it could be sold, officials said.

Alan Glover, city clerk and public administrator, said Magdanz isn’t answering her telephone.

But he has been deluged with calls and e-mails from gold dealers. “Everyone is interested in selling these coins,” he said.

Dawn Ellerbrock, the attorney handling the estate, declined to say whether she has had any coversations with Magdanz. She cited attorney-client privilege.

District Court Judge Todd Russell today authorized Glover to hire a firm to make sure Magdanz is the rightful heir and an expert to value the estate.

Ellerbrock said and she believed the coins are worth between $7 million and $10 million. A 28-page inventory of the coins indicates some date to 1872.

Ellerbrock said she hopes the International Genealogical Society can complete its search within 30 days to determine if Magdanz is the rightful heir.

Howard Herz, a local expert in valuing estates, has been retained to determine the value of Samasko’s estate.

Samasko was a loner, and his body wasn’t discovered until neighbors complained of the smell coming from his home, which has been sold for $110,000.

Nobody had any idea Samasko had the coins, Glover said.

Once the value of the estate is determined, Ellerbrock said, a certified public accountant will be hired to determine the inheritance tax due. She said the rate is 35 to 38 percent on anything above $5.2 million.

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