Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis Veteran Leaves $13M to Charities, Some Doubt and Miss Out

Carl Belen
  • A modest Indianapolis man, Terry Kahn, left his $13 million estate to charities after his death.
  • His lawyer, Dwayne Isaacs, faced the unusual task of offering $1 million to various charities, with some dismissing the offers as scams.
  • Kahn, who lived frugally and avoided expenses like cell phones and obituaries, made a significant impact on a dozen nonprofits.

Terry Kahn, a veteran charity worker from Indianapolis, led an extraordinarily frugal life, to the extent of not owning a cellphone due to its cost.

Upon his passing, Kahn, who had no immediate family, left an astonishing $13 million estate to be donated to charities, as per his will. Kahn's attorney, Dwayne Isaacs, undertook the responsibility of contacting local charities to offer them a part of this fortune. However, this gesture of generosity was met with skepticism by some organizations, who mistook the offer for a scam and consequently missed out on the donations.

Kahn had spent 30 years working for the Veterans Administration and lived a low-profile life, avoiding expenses like public obituaries. His careful spending habits ultimately resulted in amassing a significant estate, which he chose to allocate to various charities posthumously.

Among the beneficiaries was Teachers' Treasure, a resource for educators in need of classroom supplies. The CEO of Teachers' Treasure, Margaret Sheehan, initially doubted the authenticity of the offer but later recognized it as a genuine act of kindness. This story highlights the unexpected impact of Kahn's life choices and his lasting contribution to numerous nonprofits.


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