A-95510, NOVEMBER 3, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 412

A-95510: Nov 3, 1938

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

UNTIL THE HEIRS HAVE BEEN DETERMINED IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW OR A LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE HAS BEEN APPOINTED TO TAKE CARE OF THE ASSETS OF THE ESTATE AND CLAIMS HAVE BEEN PRESENTED BY THE HEIRS OR ON THEIR BEHALF. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUFFICIENT SHOWING THAT THE DECEDENT WAS AN INCOMPETENT ADULT INDIAN OR A MINOR RECOGNIZED AS A WARD OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR THE REASON THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO PAY YOU. MONEY DUE THE ESTATE BY THE GOVERNMENT UNTIL THE HEIRS HAVE BEEN DETERMINED IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW OR A LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE HAS BEEN APPOINTED TO TAKE CARE OF THE ASSETS OF THE ESTATE AND CLAIMS HAVE BEEN PRESENTED BY THE HEIRS OR ON THEIR BEHALF. 11 COMP. SAID ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION OR OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES TO TURN OVER TO SUPERINTENDENTS OF THE INDIAN SERVICE AMOUNTS DUE INDIANS WHO ARE UNDER LEGAL DISABILITY OR TO ESTATES OF SUCH DECEASED INDIANS" PROVIDES: THAT ANY MONEY ACCRUING FROM THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION OR OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY TO INCOMPETENT ADULT INDIANS.

A-95510, NOVEMBER 3, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 412

DECEDENTS, ESTATES OF - MONEYS DUE DECEASED INDIANS FROM THE UNITED STATES - PAYMENTS TO SUPERINTENDENTS OF INDIAN AGENCIES PROCEEDS OF A GOVERNMENT CHECK DRAWN TO THE ORDER OF AN INDIAN NOW DECEASED, AND DUE HIS ESTATE, MAY NOT BE PAID THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE INDIAN AGENCY WHERE THE INDIAN DIED, UNTIL THE HEIRS HAVE BEEN DETERMINED IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW OR A LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE HAS BEEN APPOINTED TO TAKE CARE OF THE ASSETS OF THE ESTATE AND CLAIMS HAVE BEEN PRESENTED BY THE HEIRS OR ON THEIR BEHALF, IN THE ABSENCE OF SUFFICIENT SHOWING THAT THE DECEDENT WAS AN INCOMPETENT ADULT INDIAN OR A MINOR RECOGNIZED AS A WARD OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 25, 1933, 47 STAT. 907, ASSERTED AS AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT TO THE SUPERINTENDENT AS EX-OFFICIO ADMINISTRATOR OF THE DECEDENT'S ESTATE, NOT EMBRACING OTHER THAN THESE TWO CLASSES OR MONEYS DUE THE ESTATES OF THESE CLASSES.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO G. A. TROTTER, ACTING SUPERINTENDENT, NAVAJO INDIAN AGENCY, NOVEMBER 3, 1938:

YOUR LETTER OF MAY 31, 1938, REQUESTS REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT DATED MAY 24, 1938, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR THE PROCEEDS OF CHECK NO. 21,675,296 IN THE SUM OF $50, DRAWN MAY 31, 1937, BY G. F. ALLEN, TO THE ORDER OF JAKEY OR JAKE, NOW DECEASED, YOUR CLAIM HAVING BEEN FILED AS EX-OFFICIO ADMINISTRATOR OF THE DECEASED INDIAN'S ESTATE.

THE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 24, 1938, DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR THE REASON THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO PAY YOU, AS THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE INDIAN AGENCY WHERE THE INDIAN DIED, MONEY DUE THE ESTATE BY THE GOVERNMENT UNTIL THE HEIRS HAVE BEEN DETERMINED IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW OR A LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE HAS BEEN APPOINTED TO TAKE CARE OF THE ASSETS OF THE ESTATE AND CLAIMS HAVE BEEN PRESENTED BY THE HEIRS OR ON THEIR BEHALF. 11 COMP. GEN. 266; ID. 316.

IN YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW YOU REFER TO THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 25, 1933, 47 STAT. 907, AS AUTHORITY FOR PAYING TO YOU AS EX-OFFICIO ADMINISTRATOR THE MONEY DUE THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED INDIAN IN THIS CASE. SAID ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION OR OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES TO TURN OVER TO SUPERINTENDENTS OF THE INDIAN SERVICE AMOUNTS DUE INDIANS WHO ARE UNDER LEGAL DISABILITY OR TO ESTATES OF SUCH DECEASED INDIANS" PROVIDES:

THAT ANY MONEY ACCRUING FROM THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION OR OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY TO INCOMPETENT ADULT INDIANS, OR MINOR INDIANS, WHO ARE RECOGNIZED WARDS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, FOR WHOM NO LEGAL GUARDIANS OR OTHER FIDUCIARIES HAVE BEEN APPOINTED MAY BE PAID, IN THE DISCRETION OF THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, OR OTHER HEAD OF A GOVERNMENTAL BUREAU OR AGENCY, HAVING SUCH FUNDS FOR PAYMENT, TO SUCH SUPERINTENDENT OR OTHER BONDED OFFICER OF THE INDIAN SERVICE AS THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR SHALL DESIGNATE, FOR THE USE OF SUCH BENEFICIARIES, OR TO BE PAID TO OR USED FOR THE HEIRS OF SUCH DECEASED BENEFICIARIES, TO BE HANDLED AND ACCOUNTED FOR BY HIM WITH OTHER MONEYS UNDER HIS CONTROL, IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXISTING LAW AND THE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR.

PARAGRAPH 38 OF REGULATIONS OF THE INDIAN SERVICE, INDIVIDUAL INDIAN MONEYS, AS AMENDED APRIL 13, 1933, PROVIDES:

SUPERINTENDENTS AND DISBURSING OFFICERS ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO DEPOSIT AS "INDIVIDUAL INDIAN MONEY" FUNDS RECEIVED FROM THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION OR OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY IN PURSUANCE OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 26 (25), 1933, AND WHICH ARE DUE INCOMPETENT ADULT INDIANS OR MINOR INDIANS FOR WHOM NO LEGAL GUARDIAN OR OTHER FIDUCIARIES HAVE BEEN APPOINTED; SUCH FUNDS TO BE HANDLED AND ACCOUNTED FOR, AND DISBURSED FOR THE USE AND BENEFIT OF SUCH BENEFICIARIES, IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXISTING LAW AND REGULATIONS, AS HEREIN ELSEWHERE PROVIDED. IN VIEW OF THE NATURE OF THESE FUNDS, SUPERINTENDENTS SHOULD KEEP THEIR RECORDS IN SUCH MANNER THAT THEY WILL BE PREPARED TO SUBMIT DETAILED REPORTS EITHER TO THIS OFFICE OR TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION OR OTHER FEDERAL AGENCY UPON REQUEST.

IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT AND THE REGULATIONS, SUPRA, THE AUTHORITY DOES NOT EXTEND BEYOND THAT TO PAY TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF AN INDIAN AGENCY MONEYS DUE FROM THE GOVERNMENT TO "INCOMPETENT ADULT INDIANS, OR MINOR INDIANS, WHO ARE RECOGNIZED WARDS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT," OR MONEYS DUE FROM THE GOVERNMENT TO THE ESTATES OF SUCH DECEASED INDIANS.

IN THE INSTANT CASE THERE HAS BEEN NO SHOWING THAT JAKEY OR JAKE WAS AN "INCOMPETENT ADULT INDIAN" AS THAT TERM IS USED IN THE ACT, NOR THAT HE WAS A RECOGNIZED WARD OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH A SHOWING, IT MUST BE HELD THAT PAYMENT TO YOU AS EX OFFICIO ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 25, 1933, SUPRA, IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

ACCORDINGLY, UPON THE PRESENT RECORD, THE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 24, 1938, MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.