I Should Hang Out In Probate Court

According to Wikipedia: "Probate is the legal process of settling the estate of a deceased person, specifically resolving all claims and distributing the decedent’s property under the valid will. Probate is a service that a Surrogate Court provides to confirm the validity of a deceased person’s will. Once a will has been probated by the court, everyone can rely on its authenticity. Probate protects the instructions of the deceased, confirms the executor as the personal representative of the estate, protects the interests of family members who may have claims against the estate, and protects the executor against claims and law suits."

I should hang out in probate court in room 258 at the Stanley Mosk courthouse downtown. There are three computers there. You can search by name.

Any big lawsuits going on these days among the Jews over estates?

Nathan Shapell was a macher at Beth Am. He published an autobiography about his experiences in the Holocaust — "Witness to the Truth."

"You better be careful what you write about Nathan Shapell," says a friend by phone. "You’ll not just get kicked out of shul, you’ll get kicked out of the planet."

Nathan Shapell’s will is being legally contested.

David Shapell is a macher at Beth Jacob. They developed half of Northridge and Porter Ranch.

There is the David Shapell College of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.

From the Jewish Journal March 11, 2007:

Nathan Shapell, renowned real estate developer and prominent philanthropist known throughout California, the United States, and Israel has passed away. He was 85.

Shapell, Chairman & CEO of Shapell Industries, one of the most successful and highly respected homebuilders in California, died in his sleep on March 11, 2007, while on a vacation cruise.

Nathan Shapell was a man of integrity and principle, a builder of lives who dedicated his life to helping others less fortunate. A survivor of the Holocaust, he was determined to not only rebuild his own life, but to help others rebuild theirs.

As Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Shapell Industries, Nathan Shapell personified the word "entrepreneur." Along with brother, David, and brother-in-law, Max Webb, Nathan Shapell built one of the most successful real estate development companies in California that is recognized today as an industry leader. In recognition of his accomplishments, the Building Industry of California inducted him into the Builder’s Hall of Fame in 2001. Shapell’s philosophy was based upon the high priority he placed on family, community, and home — the very things that Hitler and the Nazis stole from him at a very early age.

Born in Poland, Nathan Shapell spent World War II as a prisoner of the infamous Buchenwald and Auschwitz Concentration Camps where most of his family members including his mother, were executed. After Hitler’s reign of terror ended, Shapell devoted himself to helping thousands of bewildered and angry Holocaust survivors. His efforts landed him in Munchberg, Germany, in charge of building housing complexes for the displaced war survivors, and representing them before American military panels responsible for ruling on requests to immigrate to America. It was there that he met a young female translator, Lilly Schreiber, who would become his wife and partner in life. In 1952, Nathan and Lilly Shapell, along with their daughter Vera, immigrated to the United States to start a new life. Lilly Shapell, his wife of 48 years, passed away in 1994. Shapell chronicled the early years of his life in his autobiography, Witness to the Truth.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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