A-21896, MARCH 27, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 601

A-21896: Mar 27, 1928

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CONSULAR FEES - DISPOSITION OF ESTATES OF AMERICAN CITIZENS DYING ABROAD THE CORRECT METHOD OF COMPUTING FEES IN CASES WHERE A CONSULAR OFFICER TAKES OVER THE ESTATE OF AN AMERICAN CITIZEN DYING ABROAD IS THAT SUCH FEES SHOULD BE BASED ON THE INVENTORY PROVIDED BY LAW SUBJECT TO ANY DEPRECIATION OR INCREASE OR OTHER INCREMENT ACCRUING AFTER INVENTORY AND ON ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE APPRAISED VALUE AND THE SELLING PRICE OF ANY EFFECTS SOLD BY THE CONSULAR OFFICER AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW. ON WHOSE ESTATE A FEE OF $20 WAS COLLECTED BY THE AMERICAN CONSUL. THAT IS. UPON ITS VALUE WHEN IT IS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE TO BE HELD IN TRUST FOR THE LEGAL CLAIMANT. PAY THE DEBTS DUE FROM HIS ESTATE WHICH HE SHALL HAVE THERE CONTRACTED.

A-21896, MARCH 27, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 601

CONSULAR FEES - DISPOSITION OF ESTATES OF AMERICAN CITIZENS DYING ABROAD THE CORRECT METHOD OF COMPUTING FEES IN CASES WHERE A CONSULAR OFFICER TAKES OVER THE ESTATE OF AN AMERICAN CITIZEN DYING ABROAD IS THAT SUCH FEES SHOULD BE BASED ON THE INVENTORY PROVIDED BY LAW SUBJECT TO ANY DEPRECIATION OR INCREASE OR OTHER INCREMENT ACCRUING AFTER INVENTORY AND ON ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE APPRAISED VALUE AND THE SELLING PRICE OF ANY EFFECTS SOLD BY THE CONSULAR OFFICER AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, MARCH 27, 1928:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 3, 1927, FILE FA-365 113, SUBMITTING FOR DECISION THE QUESTION AS TO THE PROPER AMOUNT OF FEES TO BE COLLECTED BY CONSULS IN MAKING FINAL DISPOSITION OF ESTATES OF AMERICAN CITIZENS DYING ABROAD, PARTICULAR REFERENCE BEING HAD TO THE CASE OF CORNELIA RIPLEY, WHO DIED IN FLORENCE, ITALY, ON NOVEMBER 14, 1926, ON WHOSE ESTATE A FEE OF $20 WAS COLLECTED BY THE AMERICAN CONSUL. YOU STATE THAT THERE APPEARS TO BE A LACK OF UNIFORMITY IN DETERMINING THE BASIS UPON WHICH THE FEES SHOULD BE CHARGED IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH ESTATES; THAT IS, WHETHER THE FEE SHOULD BE ASSESSED UPON THE APPRAISED VALUE OF SUCH ESTATE WHEN IT COMES INTO THE POSSESSION OF THE CONSUL, OR UPON ITS VALUE AT THE TIME OF ITS DELIVERY TO THE LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES OF THE DECEASED, OR, IF NO CLAIMANT APPEARS, UPON ITS VALUE WHEN IT IS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE TO BE HELD IN TRUST FOR THE LEGAL CLAIMANT.

SECTION 1709, REVISED STATUTES, STIPULATES THAT 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.

FIFTH. TO TRANSMIT THE BALANCE OF THE ESTATE TO THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES, TO BE HOLDEN IN TRUST FOR THE LEGAL CLAIMANT; EXCEPT THAT IF AT ANY TIME BEFORE SUCH TRANSMISSION THE LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DECEASED SHALL APPEAR AND DEMAND HIS EFFECTS IN THEIR HANDS THEY SHALL DELIVER THEM UP, BEING PAID THEIR FEES, AND SHALL CEASE THEIR PROCEEDINGS.

THE FEES TO BE CHARGED BY CONSULS FOR THEIR SERVICES RENDERED UNDER THIS STATUTE WERE FIXED BY THE PRESIDENT IN THE TARIFF OF UNITED STATES CONSULAR FEES, AS AMENDED ON JUNE 4, 1920, SECTION 12 OF WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

FOR TAKING INTO POSSESSION THE PERSONAL ESTATE OF ANY CITIZEN WHO SHALL DIE WITHIN THE LIMITS OF A CONSULATE, INVENTORYING, SELLING, AND FINALLY SETTLING AND PREPARING OR TRANSMITTING, ACCORDING TO LAW, THE BALANCE DUE THEREON, $2 FOR EACH $100 OF VALUE OR FRACTION THEREOF. IF PART OF SUCH ESTATE SHALL BE DELIVERED OVER BEFORE FINAL SETTLEMENT $1 FOR EACH $100 OF VALUE OR FRACTION THEREOF TO BE CHARGED ON THE PART SO DELIVERED OVER AS IS NOT IN MONEY, AND $2 FOR EACH $100 OF VALUE OR FRACTION THEREOF ON THE GROSS AMOUNT OF THE RESIDUE. IF AMONG THE EFFECTS OF THE DECEASED ARE FOUND CERTIFICATES OF FOREIGN STOCK, LOANS, OR OTHER PROPERTY, $1 FOR EACH $100 OF VALUE OR FRACTION THEREOF ON THE AMOUNT THEREOF. NO CHARGE WILL BE MADE FOR PLACING THE OFFICIAL SEAL UPON THE PERSONAL PROPERTY OR EFFECTS OF SUCH DECEASED CITIZEN, OR FOR BREAKING OR REMOVING THE SEALS.

THE CORRECT METHOD OF COMPUTING FEES IN CASES WHERE A CONSULAR OFFICER TAKES OVER THE ESTATE OF AN AMERICAN CITIZEN DYING ABROAD IS THAT SUCH FEES SHOULD BE BASED ON THE INVENTORY PROVIDED BY LAW SUBJECT TO ANY DEPRECIATION OR INCREASE OR OTHER INCREMENT ACCRUING AFTER INVENTORY AND ON ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE APPRAISED VALUE AND THE SELLING PRICE OF ANY EFFECTS SOLD BY THE CONSULAR OFFICER AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW.

IN THE CASE SUBMITTED BY YOU IT APPEARS THAT THE APPRAISED VALUE OF THE DECEDENT'S PROPERTY WHEN RECEIVED BY THE CONSUL WAS $1,334.90, CONSISTING OF:

MONEY ESTIMATED VALUE ITALIAN LIRE, AT 15,909.60 ------------------------ --------- $716.65 UNITED STATES CURRENCY --------------------------------- ---- 300.00

1,016.65 BAGGAGE, WEARING APPAREL, AND MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS ---------- 194.50 JEWELRY ---------------------------------------------------- 123.75

TOTAL --------------------------------------------- 1,334.90

IT ALSO APPEARS THAT DURING THE PERIOD BETWEEN THE RECEIPT OF THE EFFECTS OF THE DECEASED BY THE CONSUL AND THE DELIVERY OF SAID EFFECTS BY THE CONSUL TO HER PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE, THAT PART OF THE ESTATE CONSISTING OF MONEY INCREASED THROUGH THE ACCRUAL OF INTEREST ON SAID MONEY AND ENHANCEMENT OF THE VALUE OF THE LIRE IN THE SUM OF $119.67, MAKING THE VALUE OF THE ESTATE AT THE TIME OF DELIVERY TO SAID PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE AS FOLLOWS: PERSONAL EFFECTS, INCLUDING JEWELRY, ETC. ----- --------------- $318.25 MONEY --------------------- ---------------------- ----------- 1,136.32

TOTAL ---------------------------------------------- 1,454.57

THEREFORE THE PROPER FEE TO BE COLLECTED WAS AT $1 PER $100, OR FRACTION THEREOF ON $318.25, $4, AND AT $2 PER $100, OR FRACTION THEREOF, ON $1,136.32, $24; TOTAL, $28, OR $8 MORE THAN WAS COLLECTED. THE CONSULAR AGENT SHOULD BE REQUESTED TO REMIT THIS AMOUNT TO THE TREASURY IMMEDIATELY.