A-13375, APRIL 22, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 842

A-13375: Apr 22, 1926

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

TO BE DISTRIBUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE WILL OF THE INSURED. MAY BE PAID TO THE EXECUTOR NAMED IN THE WILL PROBATED IN THE STATE WHERE THE DECEASED LEFT PROPERTY EVEN THOUGH IT NOT BE THE LAST DOMICILE OF THE DECEASED. WHERE IT APPEARS THAT THE EXECUTOR HAS DULY QUALIFIED AND IS ALSO THE SOLE LEGATEE. ANY SITUS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND WAR-RISK INSURANCE DUE THE ESTATE OF AN INSURED IS NOT THEREFORE REQUIRED TO BE PAID TO AN ADMINISTRATOR APPOINTED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAKING CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. WHO WAS GRANTED INSURANCE UNDER THE WAR-RISK INSURANCE ACT. THERE IS PRESENTED THE QUESTION OF THE PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT TO EXECUTORS AND ADMINISTRATORS APPOINTED UNDER SIMILAR CONDITIONS.

A-13375, APRIL 22, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 842

VETERANS' BUREAU - INSURANCE - PAYMENTS TO ESTATES OF INSURED WAR-RISK INSURANCE DUE THE ESTATE OF AN INSURED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 303 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AND TO BE DISTRIBUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE WILL OF THE INSURED, MAY BE PAID TO THE EXECUTOR NAMED IN THE WILL PROBATED IN THE STATE WHERE THE DECEASED LEFT PROPERTY EVEN THOUGH IT NOT BE THE LAST DOMICILE OF THE DECEASED, WHERE IT APPEARS THAT THE EXECUTOR HAS DULY QUALIFIED AND IS ALSO THE SOLE LEGATEE. MONEY DUE FROM THE UNITED STATES HAS NOT, AS A GENERAL RULE, ANY SITUS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND WAR-RISK INSURANCE DUE THE ESTATE OF AN INSURED IS NOT THEREFORE REQUIRED TO BE PAID TO AN ADMINISTRATOR APPOINTED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAKING CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, THE DOMICILE OF THE INSURED BEING ELSEWHERE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, APRIL 22, 1926:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 27, 1926, AS FOLLOWS:

IN VIEW OF THE DECISION RENDERED BY YOU ON JANUARY 16, 1926 (A 11096) IN CONNECTION WITH THE CLAIM OF R. H. LEO, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF ERNEST O. GRAY, DECEASED, (C-224,868), WHO WAS GRANTED INSURANCE UNDER THE WAR-RISK INSURANCE ACT, AND THE EARLIER DECISION RENDERED BY YOU ON OCTOBER 30, 1924 (D.M. 512), IN CONNECTION WITH THE CLAIM OF WILLIAM N. ELLISON, AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF GEORGE COLUMBUS, THERE IS PRESENTED THE QUESTION OF THE PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT TO EXECUTORS AND ADMINISTRATORS APPOINTED UNDER SIMILAR CONDITIONS.

THE CASE OF CHRIS PUPICH (C-1,245,471) WHO DIED ON MAY 11, 1925, WHILE RECEIVING TREATMENT BY THIS BUREAU AT THE BUREAU HOSPITAL AT FORT BAYARD, NEW MEXICO, ILLUSTRATES THE SITUATION EXISTING. CLAIM FOR THE INSURANCE GRANTED THIS MAN HAS BEEN SUBMITTED BY SAM. T. PUPICH, COUSIN OF THE DECEASED, WHO WAS NAMED AS EXECUTOR AND SOLE BENEFICIARY IN THE WILL EXECUTED BY THE DECEASED AT FORT BAYARD, NEW MEXICO, AND ADMITTED TO PROBATE IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA.

THE WILL IN QUESTION RECITES---

"THAT I, CHRIS PUPICH OF FORT BAYARD, NEW MEXICO, FORMERLY OF CASPER, WYOMING, * * * DO DECLARE, MAKE, AND PUBLISH THIS MY LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT * * *

"SECOND. I REQUEST THAT MY COUSIN, SAM T. PUPICH, BE APPOINTED EXECUTOR OF MY LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT TO SERVE WITHOUT BOND.

"THIRD. I GIVE AND BEQUEATH AND DEVISE TO MY COUSIN, SAM T. PUPICH, OF 504 SOUTH MAIN STREET, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, ALL OF MY ESTATE, CONSISTING OF REAL, PERSONAL, AND MIXED PROPERTY OF WHATSOEVER NATURE AND WHERESOEVER SITUATED FOREVER. * * *

"FOURTH. I DESIRE THAT NO OTHER ACTION BE TAKEN IN THE PROBATE COURT HAVING JURISDICTION IN RELATION TO THE SETTLEMENT OF MY ESTATE THAN THE PROBATING OF THIS WILL.'

THIS WILL WAS FILED FOR PROBATE IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, ON JUNE 24, 1925, AND AN ORDER ADMITTING WILL TO PROBATE AND FOR LETTERS TESTAMENTARY WAS ENTERED JULY 14, 1925, OATH BEING TAKEN BY THE EXECUTOR ON THAT DAY. IN THE ORDER ADMITTING THE WILL TO PROBATE THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE APPEARS:

"IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED AND ADJUDGED BY THE COURT THAT SAID CHRIS PUPICH DIED ON THE 11TH DAY OF MAY, 1925, LEAVING AN ESTATE IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, AND THEN A RESIDENT OF THE COUNTY OF NATRONA, STATE OF WYOMING; * * * AND THAT SAM T. PUPICH BE APPOINTED EXECUTOR OF THE SAID LAST WILL AND THAT LETTERS TESTAMENTARY THEREON ISSUE TO HIM UPON HIS TAKING THE OATH REQUIRED BY LAW, WITHOUT BOND.'

SAM T. PUPICH HAS SUBMITTED CLAIM FOR PAYMENT OF THE PRESENT VALUE OF THE $10,000 INSURANCE GRANTED CHRIS PUPICH, THE BENEFICIARY DESIGNATED BY THE INSURED HAVING PREDECEASED HER BROTHER AND NO OTHER BENEFICIARY HAVING BEEN NAMED. THE INSURANCE HAS BEEN REVIVED AND IS PAYABLE BY VIRTUE OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 305 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT WITH A PRESENT VALUE OF $6,931.06, PAYABLE TO THE ESTATE OF THE INSURED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 303 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED MARCH 4, 1925.

IN ADDITION TO THE COUSIN, SAM PUPICH, NAMED AS SOLE BENEFICIARY IN THE INSURED'S WILL, CHRIS PUPICH WAS SURVIVED BY HIS MOTHER AND FATHER AND ONE SISTER, ALL OF WHOM ARE RESIDENTS OF JUGO-SLAVIA.

IT WOULD SEEM THAT UNDER THE LANGUAGE OF YOUR DECISION OF JANUARY 16, 1926, THIS CASE AND THOSE SIMILAR THERETO MIGHT BE PAID WITHOUT THE QUESTION BEING RAISED AS TO THE VALIDITY OF THE APPOINTMENT OF THE EXECUTOR UNDER THE PROBATE OF A WILL IN THE STATE WHERE THE INSURED WAS NOT ACTUALLY DOMICILED AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. HOWEVER, BECAUSE OF YOUR DECISION OF OCTOBER 30, 1924, I AM DOUBTFUL AS TO MY AUTHORITY TO MAKE AN AWARD PAYMENT TO SAM T. PUPICH AS THE EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE OF THE LATE CHRIS PUPICH UNDER THE CALIFORNIA APPOINTMENT.

THE CASE OF CRAIG W. HITCHCOCK (C-115, 345) PRESENTS A SIMILAR QUESTION. ON DECEMBER 9, 1925, THE SUPREME COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, HOLDING PROBATE COURT, ENTERED AN ORDER GRANTING ,ADMINISTRATION OF ALL THE MONEY, CHATTELS, RIGHTS, CREDITS, OR OTHER PERSONAL PROPERTY" OF CRAIG W. HITCHCOCK, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. ADMINISTRATION WAS GRANTED ON THE PETITION OF THE DECEDENT'S FATHER, ASHLAND C. HITCHCOCK, WHO ALLEGED THAT HE, THE FATHER, IS A RESIDENT OF THE STATE OF KANSAS; THAT THE DECEDENT WAS A RESIDENT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH IN THE SERVICE; THAT THE ONLY SURVIVING HEIRS AT LAW AND NEXT OF KIN WERE THE PETITIONER AND THE INSURED'S MOTHER, WHO HAS SINCE DIED; THAT THE DECEASED LEFT NO REAL PROPERTY AND NO PERSONAL PROPERTY EXCEPT THE WAR-RISK INSURANCE, FOR WHICH HIS MOTHER WAS NAMED SOLE BENEFICIARY; AND THAT SINCE THE MOTHER'S DEATH THE PRESENT VALUE OF THE REMAINING INSTALLMENTS OF SAID INSURANCE BECOMES PAYABLE TO THE ESTATE OF THE INSURED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 303 OF THE WAR-RISK INSURANCE ACT. IT APPEARS THAT THERE ARE SURVIVING TWO BROTHERS AND ONE HALF SISTER OF THE DECEASED, HIS FATHER, TWO NIECES, AND SEVERAL UNCLES AND AUNTS. ONE OF THE BROTHERS IS STATED TO BE A RESIDENT OF THE STATE OF KANSAS AND ONE BROTHER IS STATED TO BE A RESIDENT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

THE CASE OF THE LATE THOMAS F. RYAN (C-303,677) ALSO PRESENTS THE QUESTION OF LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION GRANTED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THE INSURED DIED AT FORT WAYNE, INDIANA, WHILE SERVING IN THE ARMY, HAVING BEEN RECALLED TO ACTIVE DUTY AS A LIEUTENANT COLONEL. APPEARS THAT BEFORE FIRST ENTERING THE SERVICE THE DECEASED WAS A CONTRACTOR FOR CITY SPRINKLING, ELMIRA, NEW YORK, ACCORDING TO THE STATEMENT MADE BY HIS WIDOW IN HER CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION. HIS WIDOW, NAMED AS BENEFICIARY IN HIS APPLICATION FOR INSURANCE, RESIDED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AFTER THE DEATH OF THE INSURED AND WAS EMPLOYED IN WASHINGTON, D.C. SHE DIED AT WALTER REED HOSPITAL APRIL 1, 1925. THE INSURED'S SON, A RESIDENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, FILED AN AFFIDAVIT WITH THIS BUREAU STATING THAT HIS FATHER LEFT NO ESTATE OR PROPERTY OF ANY CHARACTER IN THE STATE OF INDIANA, IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK, OR ANY JURISDICTION OTHER THAN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND THAT HE BELIEVES HIMSELF TO BE THE HEIR AT LAW OF THE LATE THOMAS FRED RYAN. OTHER EVIDENCE BEFORE THE BUREAU INDICATES THAT THE SURVIVING SON IS THE ONLY HEIR OF THE INSURED.

ON JUNE 5, 1925, THE SUPREME COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GRANTED AND COMMITTED ADMINISTRATION OF THE ESTATE OF THE INSURED TO THE SON, NOBLES FRED C. RYAN, RECITING IN THE LETTERS THAT THOMAS F. RYAN WAS "LATE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.'

CLINTON VAN GIESEN MILLER (C-92, 564) IS ANOTHER CASE WHERE ADMINISTRATION WAS GRANTED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ON THE ESTATE OF A NONRESIDENT. THE DECEDENT WAS A RESIDENT OF DENVER, COLORADO, AT THE TIME OF HIS ENLISTMENT INTO THE MILITARY SERVICE, HAVING LIVED IN DENVER FOR MORE THAN TEN YEARS. THE ONLY SURVIVING RELATIVE WITHIN THE PERMITTED CLASS OF BENEFICIARIES IS SHOWN TO BE HIS UNCLE DOMICILED AT NICHOLS, FAIRFIELD COUNTY, CONNECTICUT. IN THIS CASE, ALSO, IT APPEARS THAT THE ONLY ESTATE LEFT BY THE INSURED IS REPRESENTED BY THE PRESENT VALUE OF THE REMAINING INSTALLMENTS OF THE INSURANCE PAYABLE UNDER SECTION 306 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT.

YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO THE AUTHORITY TO RECOGNIZE AND MAKE PAYMENT TO EXECUTORS AND ADMINISTRATORS UNDER APPOINTMENTS IN STATES OTHER THAN THE DOMICILE OF THE DECEASED, OR IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN CASES SIMILAR TO THOSE HEREIN DESCRIBED.

YOU REFER TO DECISIONS OF OCTOBER 30, 1924, AND JANUARY 16, 1926, WITH RESPECT TO THE PROPER DISPOSITION OF THE CASES SUBMITTED.

THE DECISION OF OCTOBER 30, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 417, 418, INVOLVED THE DISPOSITION OF AN AMOUNT DUE THE ESTATE OF AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE ARMY WHO DIED WHILE IN THE SERVICE. THE QUESTION FOR DECISION WAS WHETHER AN AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF $500 COULD LAWFULLY BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT TO AN ANCILLARY ADMINISTRATOR APPOINTED BY A COURT IN A JURISDICTION OTHER THAN THAT OF THE LAST DOMICILE OF THE SOLDIER ON THE APPLICATION OF AN ALLEGED DEBTOR OF THE DECEASED, IT APPEARING THAT A SISTER OF THE DECEASED LIVED IN ANOTHER JURISDICTION. THE FACTS OF RECORD WERE CLEAR THAT THE LAST DOMICILE OF THE SOLDIER WAS NOT THAT IN WHICH THE ADMINISTRATOR HAD QUALIFIED AND WAS APPOINTED. THE QUESTION WAS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE AND THAT SETTLEMENT WOULD BE DEFERRED AWAITING THE APPOINTMENT OF A PRINCIPAL OR DOMICILIARY ADMINISTRATOR IN THE DOMICILE OF THE DECEASED.

THE DECISION OF JANUARY 16, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 484, INVOLVED DISPOSITION OF AN AMOUNT DUE THE ESTATE OF AN INSURED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 303 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1925, 43 STAT. 1310. THE QUESTION FOR DECISION WAS WHETHER THE VALUE OF THE REMAINING UNPAID MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS OF INSURANCE COULD LAWFULLY BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT TO A DOMICILIARY ADMINISTRATOR REGULARLY APPOINTED BY THE COURT IN A JURISDICTION WHICH MAY HAVE BEEN THE LAST DOMICILE OF THE INSURED ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS OF RECORD. IT WAS HELD AS FOLLOWS, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS:

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.

IN THE TEXT OF THE DECISION IT WAS STATED:

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.

IN THE CASE OF CHRIS PUPICH, THE PROBATE OF THE WILL IS THE ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT FOR ISSUANCE OF LETTERS TESTAMENTARY, AND WHEN DULY PROBATED DISTRIBUTION OF THE ESTATE WOULD PRIMARILY FOLLOW THE TERMS OF THE WILL, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE JURISDICTION IN WHICH THE WILL HAD BEEN PROBATED. THE DECEASED LEFT PROPERTY IN CALIFORNIA, WHERE THE WILL WAS PROBATED, AND LETTERS TESTAMENTARY WERE GRANTED TO SAM T. PUPICH, WHO DULY QUALIFIED AS SUCH AND IS ALSO THE SOLE LEGATEE UNDER THE TERMS OF THE WILL. IT IS BELIEVED UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES THE PLACE OF PROBATE IS IMMATERIAL AND THAT THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE PROPERLY PROTECTED IN PAYMENT OF THE INSURANCE TO THE EXECUTOR. AS TO THIS CASE THE PRINCIPLE ANNOUNCED IN THE GREY CASE, DATED JANUARY 16, 1926, SUPRA, IS FOR APPLICATION.

AS TO THE OTHER CASES SUBMITTED, THE GENERAL RULE MAY BE STATED THAT MONEY DUE FROM THE UNITED STATES HAS NO SITUS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. VAUGHAN V. NORTHRUP, 15 PETERS 1; WYMAN V. HALSTEAD, 109 U.S. 654; U.S. V. BORCHERLING, 185 U.S. 223; 25 COMP. DEC. 656; 4 COMP. GEN. 418, 419. IN MAKING PAYMENTS OF AMOUNTS DUE AN ESTATE THE GOVERNMENT MAY NOT RECOGNIZE AN ADMINISTRATOR APPOINTED BY A COURT WHERE THE APPOINTMENT OF THE ADMINISTRATOR IS SOLELY UPON THE FACT THAT THE ONLY ASSET IS THE CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, AND NO NEED FOR ADMINISTRATION OR PROPER PURPOSE NECESSITATING ADMINISTRATION AT SUCH PLACE APPEARS, AS AGAINST THE KNOWN DOMICILE OF DECEDENT. 18 COMP. DEC. 1039, 20 ID. 5.

IN THE CASE OF CRAIG W. HITCHCOCK THE FACTS SUBMITTED SHOW THAT NEW YORK WAS THE LAST DOMICILE OF THE INSURED. THERE APPEAR NO FACTS OR CIRCUMSTANCES JUSTIFYING PAYMENT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR APPOINTED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

IN THE CASE OF THOMAS F. RYAN THE FACTS SUBMITTED DO NOT SHOW DEFINITELY WHETHER INDIANA OR NEW YORK WAS THE LAST DOMICILE OF THE INSURED. BUT IT APPEARS TO BE CERTAIN THAT THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WAS NOT THE LAST DOMICILE OF THE INSURED. PAYMENT MAY NOT BE MADE TO THE ADMINISTRATOR APPOINTED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

IN THE CASE OF CLINTON VAN GIESEN MILLER THE FACTS SUBMITTED SHOW COLORADO TO HAVE BEEN THE LAST DOMICILE OF THE INSURED. PAYMENT MAY NOT BE MADE TO THE ADMINISTRATOR APPOINTED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.