A-20753, DECEMBER 20, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 396

A-20753: Dec 20, 1927

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WHEREIN CREDIT WAS WITHHELD FOR AN ITEM OF $131.94. THAT THERE WAS DUE HIM AT DATE OF DEATH COMPENSATION AMOUNTING TO $131.94 FOR THE PERIOD MAY 1 TO 19. THE OFFICER WHOSE ACCOUNTS ARE IN QUESTION. IT IS ALLEGED THAT THE AMOUNT OF THE DEBTS INCURRED IN THE FOREIGN COUNTRY EXCEEDS THE AVAILABLE AMOUNT OF ASSETS. THE AUTHORITY OF CONSULAR OFFICERS TO ADMINISTER ESTATES OF UNITED STATES CITIZENS WHO DIE IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES IS FOUND IN SECTION 1709. PAY THE DEBTS DUE FROM HIS ESTATE WHICH HE SHALL HAVE THERE CONTRACTED. WHICH PROCEDURE IS APPLICABLE TO EMPLOYEES IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES. THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS REGULATION HAVE. WHERE THE PROVISIONS OF THE SAID SECTION 1709 ARE APPLICABLE.

A-20753, DECEMBER 20, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 396

ESTATES OF DECEDENTS - FOREIGN-SERVICE EMPLOYEES THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 1709, REVISED STATUTES, FOR A FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER TO COLLECT THE AMOUNTS DUE A DECEASED CITIZEN OF THIS COUNTRY RESIDING IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER TO COLLECT THE BALANCE OF COMPENSATION DUE AN EMPLOYEE IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE AT DATE OF DEATH BY SIGNING THE PAY ROLL. FOR PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED IN SUCH CASES SEE DECISION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, DECEMBER 20, 1927:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 21, 1927, REQUESTING REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF CLARENCE CARRIGAN, AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER AT MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY, FOR THE QUARTER ENDED JUNE 30, 1927, WHEREIN CREDIT WAS WITHHELD FOR AN ITEM OF $131.94, THE AMOUNT PAID AS SALARY OF HOWARD C. TINSLEY, VICE CONSUL AND CLERK, FOR THE PERIOD FROM MAY 1 TO 19, 1927.

THE FACTS OF RECORD, INCLUDING THOSE CONTAINED IN A LETTER FROM SAID FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER, ADDRESSED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE IN EXPLANATION OF THE SUSPENDED ITEM, DISCLOSE THAT HOWARD C. TINSLEY DIED MAY 19, 1927; THAT THERE WAS DUE HIM AT DATE OF DEATH COMPENSATION AMOUNTING TO $131.94 FOR THE PERIOD MAY 1 TO 19, 1927; THAT CARRIGAN, THE OFFICER WHOSE ACCOUNTS ARE IN QUESTION, SIGNED THE PAY ROLL IN THE NAME OF THE DECEDENT "PER C. CARRIGAN" AND APPLIED THE AMOUNT THUS COLLECTED, TOGETHER WITH OTHER AMOUNTS BELONGING TO THE ESTATE, IN PAYMENT OF UNPAID BILLS FOR LAST SICKNESS PRIOR TO DEATH, RENT, ETC., INCURRED BY THE DECEDENT IN MONTEVIDEO. IT IS ALLEGED THAT THE AMOUNT OF THE DEBTS INCURRED IN THE FOREIGN COUNTRY EXCEEDS THE AVAILABLE AMOUNT OF ASSETS, AND THAT THE DECEDENT HAS BUT ONE KNOWN HEIR, A NEPHEW, CHARLES S. SEWELL, OF NEW YORK CITY, WHO HAS NOT SHOWN ANY INTEREST IN THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ESTATE.

APPARENTLY THE FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER ASSUMED THAT HE HAD AUTHORITY THUS TO COLLECT AND APPLY THE AMOUNT OF UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE THE DECEDENT IN PAYMENT OF HIS DEBTS INCURRED IN THE FOREIGN COUNTRY.

THE AUTHORITY OF CONSULAR OFFICERS TO ADMINISTER ESTATES OF UNITED STATES CITIZENS WHO DIE IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES IS FOUND IN SECTION 1709, REVISED STATUTES, WHICH PROVIDES, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

IT SHALL BE THE DUTY OF CONSULS AND VICE CONSULS, WHERE THE LAWS OF THE COUNTRY PERMIT---

FIRST. TO TAKE POSSESSION OF THE PERSONAL ESTATE LEFT BY ANY CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES, OTHER THAN SEAMEN BELONGING TO ANY VESSEL, WHO SHALL DIE WITHIN THEIR CONSULATE LEAVING THERE NO LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE, PARTNER IN TRADE, OR TRUSTEE BY HIM APPOINTED TO TAKE CARE OF HIS EFFECTS.

SECOND. TO INVENTORY THE SAME WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF TWO MERCHANTS OF THE UNITED STATES, OR, FOR WANT OF THEM, OF ANY OTHERS AT THEIR CHOICE.

THIRD. TO COLLECT THE DEBTS DUE THE DECEASED IN THE COUNTRY WHERE HE DIED, AND PAY THE DEBTS DUE FROM HIS ESTATE WHICH HE SHALL HAVE THERE CONTRACTED.

FOURTH. TO SELL AT AUCTION, AFTER REASONABLE PUBLIC NOTICE, SUCH PART OF THE ESTATE AS SHALL BE OF A PERISHABLE NATURE AND SUCH FURTHER PART, IF ANY, AS SHALL BE NECESSARY FOR THE PAYMENT OF HIS DEBTS, AND, AT THE EXPIRATION OF ONE YEAR FROM HIS DECEASE, THE RESIDUE.

THE AUTHORITY THUS CONFERRED TO "COLLECT THE DEBTS DUE THE DECEASED" DOES NOT CONTEMPLATE THE COLLECTION BY A CONSUL OR OTHER FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER OF THE BALANCE OF COMPENSATION DUE AN EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES AT DATE OF DEATH BY THE SIGNING OF THE PAY ROLL. A REGULAR PROCEDURE HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED BY THIS OFFICE FOR THE SETTLEMENT OF BALANCE OF COMPENSATION DUE AT DATE OF DEATH, WHICH PROCEDURE IS APPLICABLE TO EMPLOYEES IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES. SEE GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 42, DATED APRIL 6, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 1096. THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS REGULATION HAVE, IN EFFECT, BEEN INCLUDED IN THE MIMEOGRAPHED INSTRUCTIONS ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE UNDER DATE OF DECEMBER 22, 1926, DIPLOMATIC SERIAL NO. 554. WHERE THE PROVISIONS OF THE SAID SECTION 1709 ARE APPLICABLE, AND AMOUNT OF UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE A DECEASED EMPLOYEE IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE IS NECESSARY AS A PART OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEDENT TO BE USED FOR THE PAYMENT OF DEBTS INCURRED BY THE EMPLOYEE IN THE FOREIGN COUNTRY, IT IS PROPER FOR THE FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER ACTING AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED EMPLOYEE TO SUBMIT TO THIS OFFICE THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE A VOUCHER OR CLAIM ACCOMPANIED BY AN INVENTORY OF THE ESTATE AND A STATEMENT OF THE FOREIGN DEBTS OR CLAIMS AGAINST IT. IF FROM THE SHOWING THUS MADE AND THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE IT SHALL APPEAR THAT THE UNPAID COMPENSATION IS NECESSARY TO ENABLE THE OFFICER TO PAY THE JUST AND LEGAL CLAIMS AGAINST THE ESTATE IN THE FOREIGN COUNTRY SETTLEMENT WILL BE ISSUED BY THIS OFFICE IN FAVOR OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER IN HIS CAPACITY AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE IN THE FOLLOWING FORM: ----------------------

(NAME OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER) (TITLE) ADMINISTRATOR OF ESTATE OF ----

(NAME OF DECEASED EMPLOYEE) DECEASED, IN -------------------------- ----- -----, UNDER SECTION 1709,

(NAME OF FOREIGN COUNTRY) REVISED STATUTES.

OF COURSE, ANY BALANCE OF FUNDS REMAINING IN THE ESTATE AFTER PAYMENT OF ALL LAWFUL DEBTS AND CHARGES AGAINST THE ESTATE INCURRED BY THE DECEDENT IN THE FOREIGN COUNTRY SHOULD BE TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPHS "FIFTH" AND "SIXTH" OF SECTION 1709, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1911, 36 STAT. 1083, AND SECTION 304 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1921, 42 STAT. 24, TOGETHER WITH A STATEMENT OF THE DEBTS AND CHARGES PAID, SUPPORTED BY RECEIPTED BILLS OR OTHER RECEIPTS FROM THE PERSON OR PERSONS TO WHOM SAID AMOUNTS HAVE BEEN PAID. ATTENTION IS INVITED ALSO TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1710, REVISED STATUTES.

IN THE PRESENT CASE, IF THE FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER WILL NOT FORWARD TO THIS OFFICE AN INVENTORY OF THE ESTATE AND A STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT SHOWING ALL AMOUNTS COLLECTED OR RECEIVED BY HIM AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE, AND ALL AMOUNTS DISBURSED BY HIM IN PAYMENT OF DEBTS, CLAIMS, OR CHARGES AGAINST THE ESTATE, TOGETHER WITH RECEIPTS FROM THE PERSON OR PERSONS TO WHOM SUCH AMOUNTS WERE PAID, CREDIT FOR THE ITEM IN HIS ACCOUNTS WILL BE ALLOWED IF THE EVIDENCE SUBMITTED IS FOUND TO JUSTIFY SUCH ACTION.