A-26723, MAY 2, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 576

A-26723: May 2, 1929

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SETTLEMENT OF WHICH IS PROVIDED FOR BY THE ACT OF MAY 27. IT IS REQUESTED THAT A DECISION BE OBTAINED FROM THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL WHETHER ARREARS OF PAY. TOGETHER WITH SUCH AMOUNTS AS MAY HAVE BEEN ADDED THERETO ON ACCOUNT OF THE SALE OF PERSONAL EFFECTS. THERE IS NOW BEFORE THIS BUREAU THE MATTER OF DISPOSING OF THE PERSONAL EFFECTS OF JAMES MICHAEL SULLIVAN. THIS MAN'S ACCOUNT WAS TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AND THE SUM OF $53.00 REALIZED FROM THE SALE OF HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS WAS ALSO TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE TO BE CREDITED TO HIS PAY ACCOUNT. OR OTHER SIMILAR EFFECTS SO DEPOSITED HAVE BEEN. THAT THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO MAKE DILIGENT INQUIRY IN EVERY INSTANCE AFTER THE DEATH OF SUCH PERSON TO ASCERTAIN THE WHEREABOUTS OF HIS HEIRS OR NEXT OF KIN.

A-26723, MAY 2, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 576

ESTATES OF DECEDENTS - DISPOSITION OF MONEY AND OTHER EFFECTS OF DECEASED PERSONS IN THE NAVY THE WORD "MONEYS" AS USED IN THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1918, 40 STAT. 499, HAS REFERENCE TO THE MONEYS FOUND IN THE EFFECTS OF DECEASED PERSONS IN THE NAVY AND DOES NOT INCLUDE THE BALANCE DUE AND UNPAID AT THE TIME OF DEATH, SETTLEMENT OF WHICH IS PROVIDED FOR BY THE ACT OF MAY 27, 1908, 35 STAT. 373.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, MAY 2, 1929:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED BY YOUR REFERENCE OF APRIL 4, 1929, REQUESTING DECISION OF THE QUESTION THEREIN PRESENTED, THE LETTER FROM THE PAYMASTER GENERAL OF THE NAVY, DATED MARCH 29, 1929, AS FOLLOWS:

1. IT IS REQUESTED THAT A DECISION BE OBTAINED FROM THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL WHETHER ARREARS OF PAY, TOGETHER WITH SUCH AMOUNTS AS MAY HAVE BEEN ADDED THERETO ON ACCOUNT OF THE SALE OF PERSONAL EFFECTS, OF DECEASED NAVAL PERSONNEL, REMAINING UNCLAIMED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS AFTER DATE OF DEATH, SHALL BE CONSIDERED AS MONEYS BELONGING TO DECEASED PERSONS IN THE NAVAL SERVICE AND TO BE CREDITED TO THE NAVAL PENSION FUND, AS PROVIDED FOR IN THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1918.

2. THERE IS NOW BEFORE THIS BUREAU THE MATTER OF DISPOSING OF THE PERSONAL EFFECTS OF JAMES MICHAEL SULLIVAN, CHIEF MASTER AT ARMS, UNITED STATES NAVY, WHO DIED AT THE UNITED STATES NAVAL TRAINING STATION, GREAT LAKES, JULY 6, 1918. THIS MAN'S ACCOUNT WAS TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AND THE SUM OF $53.00 REALIZED FROM THE SALE OF HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS WAS ALSO TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE TO BE CREDITED TO HIS PAY ACCOUNT.

THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1918, 40 STAT. 499, PROVIDES:

THAT HEREAFTER ALL MONEYS, ARTICLES OF VALUE, PAPERS, KEEPSAKES, AND OTHER SIMILAR EFFECTS BELONGING TO DECEASED PERSONS IN THE NAVAL SERVICE, NOT CLAIMED BY THEIR LEGAL HEIRS OR NEXT OF KIN, SHALL BE DEPOSITED IN SAFE CUSTODY, AND IF ANY SUCH MONEYS, ARTICLES OF VALUE, PAPERS, KEEPSAKES, OR OTHER SIMILAR EFFECTS SO DEPOSITED HAVE BEEN, OR SHALL HEREAFTER BE, UNCLAIMED FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS FROM THE DATE OF THE DEATH OF SUCH PERSON, SUCH ARTICLES AND EFFECTS SHALL BE SOLD AND THE PROCEEDS THEREOF, TOGETHER WITH THE MONEYS ABOVE MENTIONED, SHALL BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE NAVY PENSION FUND: PROVIDED, THAT THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO MAKE DILIGENT INQUIRY IN EVERY INSTANCE AFTER THE DEATH OF SUCH PERSON TO ASCERTAIN THE WHEREABOUTS OF HIS HEIRS OR NEXT OF KIN, AND TO PRESCRIBE SUCH REGULATIONS AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE FOREGOING PROVISIONS: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT CLAIMS MAY BE PRESENTED HEREUNDER AT ANY TIME WITHIN FIVE YEARS AFTER SUCH MONEYS OR PROCEEDS HAVE BEEN SO DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY, AND, WHEN SUPPORTED BY COMPETENT PROOF IN ANY CASE AFTER SUCH DEPOSIT IN THE TREASURY, SHALL BE CERTIFIED TO CONGRESS FOR CONSIDERATION.

ARTICLE 908, NAVY REGULATIONS, 1920, AS AMENDED BY C.N.R. NO. 7, MARCH 20, 1925, PROVIDES:

(4) HE (COMMANDING OFFICER) SHALL, UPON THE DEATH OF ANY PERSON ON BOARD THE SHIP UNDER HIS COMMAND, CAUSE ALL OF THE EFFECTS OF THE DECEASED TO BE COLLECTED AND INVENTORIED. * * * THE INVENTORIES SHALL BE MADE OUT IN DUPLICATE, DULY ATTESTED AND SIGNED BY THE OFFICERS MAKING THEM. UPON THE COMPLETION OF THE INVENTORY THE EFFECTS, IF OF A PERISHABLE NATURE, SHALL BE PUT UP IN PACKAGES OF A CONVENIENT SIZE AND SEALED WITH THE SEAL OF THE SHIP. THE COMMANDING OFFICER SHALL RETAIN ONE COPY OF THE INVENTORY HIMSELF, AND SHALL DELIVER THE OTHER TO THE SUPPLY OFFICER, WHO SHALL ALSO TAKE CHARGE OF THE EFFECTS FOR SAFE-KEEPING.

(5) IF ANY OF THE EFFECTS OF A DECEASED PERSON ARE PERISHABLE AND DETERIORATING THEY SHALL BE IMMEDIATELY SOLD AT AUCTION, AND THE PROCEEDS OF SALE TOGETHER WITH ANY MONEY FOUND IN THE EFFECTS SHALL BE TURNED OVER TO THE DISBURSING OFFICER; THE TOTAL SUM SHALL BE CREDITED TO THE PAY ACCOUNT OF THE DECEASED.

(6) ALL ARTICLES OF VALUE, PAPERS, KEEPSAKES, AND OTHER SIMILAR EFFECTS SHALL BE FORWARDED TO THE LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OR, IN DEFAULT OF SUCH, THE HEIRS AT LAW OF THE DECEASED. SHOULD IT BE IMPOSSIBLE TO ASCERTAIN THE EXISTENCE OF THE LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OR OF HEIRS AT LAW, THE ARTICLES MENTIONED AND OTHER SIMILAR EFFECTS SHALL BE SENT TO THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION OR TO THE MAJOR GENERAL COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS, AS THE CASE MAY BE, FOR SAFE-KEEPING. SHOULD THE ABOVE-DESCRIBED PROPERTY BE UNCLAIMED FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS AFTER THE DEATH OF THE OWNER THEREOF, ALL ARTICLES AND EFFECTS SO DEPOSITED SHALL BE SOLD AT AUCTION TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER, AND THE PROCEEDS OF SUCH SALE BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE NAVY PENSION FUND.

(9) HE (COMMANDING OFFICER) SHALL CAUSE THE ACCOUNTS OF ALL DECEASED PERSONS TO BE CLOSED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND FORWARDED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, TOGETHER WITH THE WILL, IF ANY CAN BE FOUND. THESE ACCOUNTS MUST BE EXAMINED AND APPROVED BY THE COMMANDING OFFICER.

THERE IS NOTHING IN THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1918, TO INDICATE THAT THE WORD "MONEYS" WAS USED THEREIN ANY OTHER THAN ITS USUAL OR ORDINARY MEANING. THE WORD EVIDENTLY REFERS TO THE MONEYS FOUND IN THE EFFECTS OF THE DECEASED, AND HAS NO REFERENCE TO THE PAY DUE AND UNPAID AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH, SETTLEMENT OF WHICH IS PROVIDED FOR BY THE ACT OF MAY 27, 1908, 35 STAT. 373. THE ACT DIRECTS THAT ALL THE MONEYS AND THE OTHER EFFECTS OF DECEASED PERSONS IN THE NAVAL SERVICE, NOT CLAIMED BY THEIR LEGAL HEIRS OR NEXT OF KIN, SHALL BE DEPOSITED IN SAFE CUSTODY, AND IF UNCLAIMED FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS SUCH EFFECTS SHALL BE SOLD AND THE PROCEEDS THEREOF, TOGETHER WITH THE MONEYS ABOVE MENTIONED, SHALL BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE NAVY PENSION FUND.

IT WILL BE OBSERVED THAT THE ACT PROVIDES THE SAME DISPOSITION FOR THE MONEYS AS IT DOES FOR THE EFFECTS OR THE PROCEEDS OF THE SALE THEREOF, AND THE CREDITING OF THE DECEASED PERSON'S ACCOUNT WITH SUCH MONEYS AND THE PROCEEDS OF SALE OF PART OF THE EFFECTS AS PRESCRIBED IN THE REGULATIONS WOULD SEEM TO BE NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW.