A-11096, JANUARY 16, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 484

A-11096: Jan 16, 1926

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1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 27. WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO R. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THERE IS NO OTHER QUESTION BUT THAT OF THE LEGALITY OF PAYMENT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR AND THAT THE QUESTION ARISES IN THAT CONNECTION BECAUSE THE ADMINISTRATOR WAS APPOINTED BY THE ORDINARY OF FRANKLIN COUNTY. IT IS NOT CLEAR WHETHER THE SOLDIER MAY BE VIEWED AS HAVING A DOMICILE IN THAT STATE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. THE DOMICILE OF THE SOLDIER ORIGINALLY WAS VIRGINIA. THE SOLDIER IS STATED ALSO TO HAVE BEEN THERE FOR FIVE MONTHS. AT WHICH TIME HIS PARENTS WERE RESIDENT AT FALCON. WERE RESIDENT THERE WHEN NOTIFIED JUNE. PAYMENT OF INSURANCE WAS MADE TO THE MOTHER UNTIL HER DEATH DECEMBER 30.

A-11096, JANUARY 16, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 484

VETERANS' BUREAU, INSURANCE - PAYMENTS TO ESTATE OF INSURED WHERE THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES APPEAR TO BE REASONABLY PROTECTED, AND NOTHING APPEARING CLEARLY DECISIVE OF ONE PLACE AS AGAINST ANOTHER AS TO DOMICILE, THE VALUE OF UNPAID WAR RISK INSURANCE INSTALLMENTS DUE THE ESTATE OF A DECEASED SOLDIER WHO DIED IN THE SERVICE ABROAD MAY BE PAID TO AN ADMINISTRATOR DULY APPOINTED AND BONDED AT ONE OF THE PLACES OF DOMICILE IN QUESTION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, JANUARY 16, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 27, 1925, SUBMITTING FOR MY DECISION A CASE STATED AS TYPICAL OF OTHERS IN YOUR BUREAU, WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO R. H. LEE, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF ERNEST O. GRAY, DECEASED, OF THE COMMUTED VALUE OF HIS INSURANCE $7,498.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THERE IS NO OTHER QUESTION BUT THAT OF THE LEGALITY OF PAYMENT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR AND THAT THE QUESTION ARISES IN THAT CONNECTION BECAUSE THE ADMINISTRATOR WAS APPOINTED BY THE ORDINARY OF FRANKLIN COUNTY, GA., BUT IT IS NOT CLEAR WHETHER THE SOLDIER MAY BE VIEWED AS HAVING A DOMICILE IN THAT STATE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH.

THE DOMICILE OF THE SOLDIER ORIGINALLY WAS VIRGINIA, HE HAVING BEEN BORN IN THAT STATE AND LIVED THERE WITH HIS PARENTS, BROTHERS, AND SISTERS, AND ENLISTED IN THE ARMY JUNE, 1916, AT RICHMOND, VA. SUBSEQUENTLY HIS PARENTS REMOVED TO FALCON, N.C., AND THE SOLDIER IS STATED ALSO TO HAVE BEEN THERE FOR FIVE MONTHS. IN HIS APPLICATION FOR WAR-RISK INSURANCE JANUARY, 1918, HE DESIGNATED HIS MOTHER AS BENEFICIARY AND AS OF FALCON, N.C., AND GAVE HIS OWN HOME ADDRESS AS FALCON, N.C. HIS DEATH OCCURRED IN FRANCE IN OCTOBER, 1918, AT WHICH TIME HIS PARENTS WERE RESIDENT AT FALCON, N.C. THE PARENTS MOVED TO FRANKLIN COUNTY, GA., IN MARCH, 1919, AND WERE RESIDENT THERE WHEN NOTIFIED JUNE, 1919, OF THE SOLDIER'S DEATH. PAYMENT OF INSURANCE WAS MADE TO THE MOTHER UNTIL HER DEATH DECEMBER 30, 1923.

THE SOLDIER APPEARING TO HAVE BEEN A BONA FIDE RESIDENT OF VIRGINIA, THE INSURANCE WAS AWARDED TO THE FATHER AFTER THE DEATH OF THE MOTHER; THE FATHER BEING THE "PERSON * * * WITHIN THE PERMITTED CLASS OF BENEFICIARIES AS WOULD, UNDER THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF RESIDENCE OF THE INSURED, BE ENTITLED TO HIS PERSONAL PROPERTY IN CASE OF INTESTACY," UNDER SECTION 15 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 24, 1919, 41 STAT. 376, THEN IN FORCE.

THE FATHER DIED MARCH 14, 1925. PAYMENT TO THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED SOLDIER BECOMES NOW A QUESTION UNDER SECTION 303 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1925, 43 STAT. 1310, WHICH PROVIDES:

* * * IF THE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY * * * SURVIVES THE INSURED AND DIES PRIOR TO RECEIVING ALL OF THE TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY INSTALLMENTS OR ALL SUCH AS ARE PAYABLE AND APPLICABLE, THERE SHALL BE PAID TO THE ESTATE OF THE INSURED THE PRESENT VALUE OF THE MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS THEREAFTER PAYABLE, SAID VALUE TO BE COMPUTED AS OF DATE OF LAST PAYMENT MADE UNDER ANY EXISTING AWARD: PROVIDED, THAT ALL AWARDS OF YEARLY RENEWABLE TERM INSURANCE WHICH ARE IN COURSE OF PAYMENT ON THE DATE OF THE APPROVAL OF THIS ACT SHALL CONTINUE UNTIL THE DEATH OF THE PERSON RECEIVING SUCH PAYMENTS, OR UNTIL HE FORFEITS SAME UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT. WHEN ANY PERSON TO WHOM SUCH INSURANCE IS NOW AWARDED DIES OR FORFEITS HIS RIGHTS TO SUCH INSURANCE THEN THERE SHALL BE PAID TO THE ESTATE OF THE INSURED THE PRESENT VALUE OF THE REMAINING UNPAID MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS OF THE INSURANCE SO AWARDED TO SUCH PERSON * * *. THIS SECTION SHALL BE DEEMED TO BE IN EFFECT AS OF OCTOBER 6, 1917.

THE PAYMENTS TO THE FATHER APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN MADE PURSUANT TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION AND NEED NOT NOW BE QUESTIONED. THE OCCUPATION OF DECEDENT WAS THAT OF SOLDIER WHICH IN ITSELF GIVES NO FIXED PLACE OF RESIDENCE DECLARATORY OF A DOMICILE AND PARTICULARLY IN WAR TIME AS HERE. IT WOULD APPEAR PROPER TO ACCEPT AS THE FACT AS TO THIS WHAT THE ACTIONS OF THE SOLDIER REASONABLY SUGGEST. HIS HOME HAD APPARENTLY BEEN THAT OF HIS PARENTS IN VIRGINIA AND WHEN THEY WENT FROM THERE TO NORTH CAROLINA HE DECLARED THAT AS HIS HOME. BEING A SOLDIER WITHOUT A HOME IN REALITY OR FIXED PLACE OF RESIDENCE, HE MEANT, AS NEARLY AS WE CAN NOW ASCERTAIN IT, THAT HIS PARENTS' HOME SHOULD BE HIS HOME. THIS, OF COURSE, COULD READILY BE DECLARED AT AN END WITH HIS DEATH, BUT I AM CONSTRAINED TO THINK THAT WHEN IT COMES TO A QUESTION AS HERE OF ONE PLACE AGAINST ANOTHER, WITH NOTHING CLEARLY DECISIVE, BUT TECHNICALLY SUPPORTING A CONCLUSION IN THE FINAL SITUATION IN FAVOR OF ONE OF THE PLACES, TO WIT, NORTH CAROLINA, WITHOUT ANYONE IN INTEREST BEING THERE, THEN THERE IS JUSTIFICATION FOR ACCEPTING THAT WHICH HAS BEEN DONE. BEYOND THE FACT THAT THE PARENTS LIVED FOR A SHORT TIME IN NORTH CAROLINA AND THE SOLDIER STATED THAT AS HIS HOME, UNDOUBTEDLY LARGELY BECAUSE HIS PARENTS THEN WERE THERE, THERE APPEARS NO NECESSITY FOR DETERMINING NOW THAT NORTH CAROLINA IS THE DOMICILE AS AGAINST THE EXISTING ADMINISTRATION IN GEORGIA; AND IF WE ARE TO JUDGE FROM PAST ACTIONS, THE SOLDIER WOULD HAVE READILY DECLARED, HAD HE LIVED, HIS PARENTS' HOME IN GEORGIA AS HIS HOME. THE REASONING IS EQUALLY SUFFICIENT AS TO ANY QUESTION OF DOMICILE IN VIRGINIA.

IN THE MATTER OF PAYMENTS FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY THE CONGRESS FOR CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF WAR-RISK INSURANCE, THE UNITED STATES HAS A DOUBLE INTEREST: FIRST, TO OBTAIN AS TO EACH PAYMENT A COMPLETE ACQUITTANCE FOR THE UNITED STATES, SO THERE MAY BE NO OPPORTUNITY FOR A FURTHER DEMAND; AND SECOND, TO HAVE THE PAYMENTS ACCOMPLISH THE WILL OF THE CONGRESS AS LEGISLATIVELY EXPRESSED, IN WHICH CONNECTION THERE MUST BE CONCERN AND EFFORT TO PREVENT, SO FAR AS POSSIBLE, SITUATIONS ARISING WHEREBY THE FUNDS MAY BE NEEDLESSLY DISSIPATED IN LITIGATION BETWEEN CONTENDING CLAIMANTS.

THE MATTER OF WHAT SHOWING WILL NECESSARILY BE REQUIRED BY THIS OFFICE TO SUPPORT A PAYMENT TO THE ESTATE OF A DECEASED VETERAN PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 303, WHERE CLEAR RIGHT IS NOT APPARENT, CAN NOT BE STATED FOR GENERAL APPLICATION BEYOND THAT ORDINARILY THE PLACE OF DOMICILE OF THE DECEDENT CONTROLS AND THIS IN CERTAIN INSTANCES MAY HAVE TO YIELD TO FACTS AND CONDITIONS AS IN THE PRESENT MATTER.

THERE ARE REPORTED AS THE ONLY PARTIES IN INTEREST AND AS HAVING CONSENTED TO THE GEORGIA ADMINISTRATION, TWO SISTERS AND A MINOR SON OF A DECEASED BROTHER, A NEPHEW, RESIDENT IN VIRGINIA, AND A SISTER--- THE WIFE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR--- RESIDENT IN GEORGIA.

THE INSURANCE PAYABLE IS STATED AS $7,498, AND THE ADMINISTRATOR IS REPORTED AS BONDED IN THE AMOUNT OF $14,000. THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES THUS APPEAR TO BE REASONABLY PROTECTED, AND AS NO CLEAR NEED APPEARS TO REQUIRE ADMINISTRATION TO BE HAD ELSEWHERE THAN ALREADY APPEARS, THIS OFFICE WILL MAKE NO OBJECTION TO PAYMENT TO THE GEORGIA ADMINISTRATOR IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.