B-117998, FEBRUARY 8, 1954, 33 COMP. GEN. 346

B-117998: Feb 8, 1954

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NO PROVISION IS MADE FOR PAYMENT TO A GENERAL CREDITOR OF THE DECEDENT'S ESTATE. WHO WAS DECEDENT'S "ONLY FRIEND. " IS NOT ENTITLED TO PAYMENT OF CLAIM FROM ARREARS OF PAY DUE DECEDENT UNLESS CLAIM IS PRESENTED BY A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE. THE CLAIM OF A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR ARREARS OF PAY DUE A DECEDENT'S ESTATE MAY BE ALLOWED ONLY UPON A SHOWING THAT THERE ARE SURVIVING HEIRS OF THE DECEDENT OR CLAIMS OF ESTABLISHED CREDITORS THAT HAVE BEEN ALLOWED BY THE PROBATE COURT. THE RULE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS BEING THAT THE CLAIM OF A LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE WILL NOT BE ALLOWED WHERE THE SOLE RESULT WOULD BE AN ESCHEAT TO THE STATE. 1954: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 12.

B-117998, FEBRUARY 8, 1954, 33 COMP. GEN. 346

DECEDENTS' ESTATES - PAY - CREDITORS' CLAIMS UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1906, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 25, 1946, WHICH GOVERNS DISTRIBUTION OF AMOUNTS DUE ESTATES OF DECEASED MILITARY PERSONNEL, NO PROVISION IS MADE FOR PAYMENT TO A GENERAL CREDITOR OF THE DECEDENT'S ESTATE, AND THEREFORE THE SOLE CREDITOR OF A DECEASED MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES, WHO WAS DECEDENT'S "ONLY FRIEND," IS NOT ENTITLED TO PAYMENT OF CLAIM FROM ARREARS OF PAY DUE DECEDENT UNLESS CLAIM IS PRESENTED BY A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE. THE CLAIM OF A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR ARREARS OF PAY DUE A DECEDENT'S ESTATE MAY BE ALLOWED ONLY UPON A SHOWING THAT THERE ARE SURVIVING HEIRS OF THE DECEDENT OR CLAIMS OF ESTABLISHED CREDITORS THAT HAVE BEEN ALLOWED BY THE PROBATE COURT, THE RULE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS BEING THAT THE CLAIM OF A LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE WILL NOT BE ALLOWED WHERE THE SOLE RESULT WOULD BE AN ESCHEAT TO THE STATE.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO FRANK SAUTER, FEBRUARY 8, 1954:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 12, 1953, RELATIVE TO YOUR CLAIM FOR RETIRED PAY DUE THE ESTATE OF JACOB ROTH, LATER SERGEANT (RETIRED), UNITED STATES ARMY, WHO DIED AUGUST 26, 1953.

THE APPLICATION WHICH YOU FILED FOR THE AMOUNT DUE DOES NOT SHOW THAT THE DECEDENT IS SURVIVED BY A WIDOW OR HEIRS, YOUR CLAIM BEING PRESENTED AS HIS "ONLY FRIEND" AND ON THE BASIS THAT HE OWED YOU FOR ROOM AND BOARD. BY LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 5, 1953, FROM THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE, YOU WERE ADVISED THAT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 25, 1946, 60 STAT. 30, WHICH GOVERNS THE DISTRIBUTION OF AMOUNTS DUE THE ESTATE OF DECEASED MILITARY PERSONNEL, NO PROVISION IS MADE FOR THE PAYMENT OF ANY AMOUNT DUE TO A GENERAL CREDITOR OF A DECEDENT'S ESTATE AND THAT PAYMENT MAY BE MADE ONLY TO A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE. IN THE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 12, 1953, YOU STATE THAT THE DECEDENT LIVED WITH YOU FOR THE PAST 14 YEARS, PAYING FOR HIS ROOM AND MEALS MONTHLY; THAT YOU TRANSACTED ALL HIS PERSONAL AFFAIRS FOR HIM, AND THAT HE HAD NO DEBTS OTHER THAN THE AMOUNT OWED TO YOU FOR ROOM AND BOARD. YOU URGE, THEREFORE, THAT THE AMOUNT DUE BE PAID TO YOU.

WHILE APPRECIATING YOUR FEELINGS IN THE MATTER, I TRUST YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THAT, IN THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED MEMBERS OF THE ARMY, THIS OFFICE MUST BE GOVERNED BY THE APPLICABLE FEDERAL STATUTE. THE SOLE AUTHORITY OF THIS OFFICE FOR DISPOSING OF AMOUNTS FOUND TO BE DUE THE ESTATES OF DECEASED MEMBERS OF THE ARMY IS THE CITED ACT OF FEBRUARY 25, 1946, WHICH PROVIDES THAT WHERE NO DEMAND IS PRESENTED BY A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE, THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS MAY ALLOW THE AMOUNT DUE TO THE LEGAL HEIRS SPECIFIED IN THE STATUTE AND IN THE ORDER OR PRECEDENCE THEREIN SET FORTH. NO PROVISION IS MADE FOR PAYMENT TO A GENERAL CREDITOR OF THE DECEDENT'S ESTATE. WHERE THERE ARE CREDITORS WHO, PRIOR TO SETTLEMENT, PRESENT CLAIMS SHOWING INDEBTEDNESS BY THE DECEDENT TO THEM, THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS WILL NOT UNDERTAKE TO DISTRIBUTE THE AMOUNT DUE FROM THE UNITED STATES BUT WILL AUTHORIZE PAYMENT ONLY TO A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE, THAT IS, TO AN EXECUTOR OR AN ADMINISTRATOR APPOINTED BY A PROPER COURT OF THE JURISDICTION WHERE THE DECEDENT WAS DOMICILED AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. SHOULD YOU HAVE YOURSELF APPOINTED SUCH LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE CONSIDERATION WILL BE GIVEN TO A CLAIM PRESENTED IN THAT CAPACITY FOR THE AMOUNT DUE--- APPROXIMATELY $129--- ACCOMPANIED BY AN AUTHENTICATED COPY OF THE LETTERS OF APPOINTMENT AND A SHOWING THAT THERE ARE SURVIVING HEIRS OF THE DECEDENT OR CLAIMS OF CREDITORS THAT HAVE BEEN ALLOWED BY THE PROBATE COURT, IT BEING THE RULE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS THAT THE CLAIM OF A LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE WILL NOT BE ALLOWED WHERE THE SOLE RESULT WOULD BE AN ESCHEAT TO THE STATE. 24 COMP. DEC. 437; 17 COMP. GEN. 49. ANY CLAIM BY A LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, CLAIMS DIVISION, WASHINGTON 25, D.C. ..END :