“As the Staten Island public administrator, Gary Gotlin knows the many pitfalls of dying without a last will and testament, also known as dying intestate. It’s his job to supervise the estates of individuals who die without this very important legal document and have no close relatives or known heirs to manage their affairs.

If no heirs are tracked down after an exhaustive search, the assets go to the city of New York, he explained.

If heirs are found, but you didn’t make your wishes known legally, the state is forced to distribute your assets according to its own judgment. It basically leaves you without say over who gets what.”