B-124835, AUG. 29, 1955

B-124835: Aug 29, 1955

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LATHAM: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 17. THE VIEW IS EXPRESSED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE DECEDENT'S DAUGHTERS HAD NO CLAIM TO HIS UNPAID SALARY SINCE IT WAS THE UNDERSTANDING OF BOTH YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND THAT YOUR MARRIAGE CANCELED THE DESIGNATION OF HIS DAUGHTERS AS BENEFICIARIES WHICH HAD BEEN EXECUTED WHEN HE WAS SINGLE. YOU STATE THAT AS EXECUTRIX AND BENEFICIARY UNDER YOUR HUSBAND'S WILL YOU ARE ENTITLED TO ANY SUM DUE HIS ESTATE. COMPENSATION DUE UPON THE DEATH OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES IS PAYABLE PURSUANT TO SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 3. TO THE BENEFICIARY OR BENEFICIARIES DESIGNATED BY THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IN WRITING TO RECEIVE SUCH COMPENSATION FILED WITH THE GOVERNMENT AGENCY IN WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WAS EMPLOYED AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH.

B-124835, AUG. 29, 1955

TO MRS. MARY T. LATHAM:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 17, 1955, IN EFFECT REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 4, 1955, WHICH ALLOWED THE CLAIMS OF HELEN MARIE LATHAM FERGUSON AND MARGARET ELOUISE LATHAM BOUGHTON AS DESIGNATED BENEFICIARIES OF FRANK R. LATHAM, DECEASED, FORMER EMPLOYEE OF THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, FOR SALARY DUE ON DATE OF DEATH, DECEMBER 21, 1954.

THE VIEW IS EXPRESSED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE DECEDENT'S DAUGHTERS HAD NO CLAIM TO HIS UNPAID SALARY SINCE IT WAS THE UNDERSTANDING OF BOTH YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND THAT YOUR MARRIAGE CANCELED THE DESIGNATION OF HIS DAUGHTERS AS BENEFICIARIES WHICH HAD BEEN EXECUTED WHEN HE WAS SINGLE. ALSO, YOU STATE THAT AS EXECUTRIX AND BENEFICIARY UNDER YOUR HUSBAND'S WILL YOU ARE ENTITLED TO ANY SUM DUE HIS ESTATE.

COMPENSATION DUE UPON THE DEATH OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES IS PAYABLE PURSUANT TO SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 3, 1950, 64 STAT. 395, WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

"THAT IN ORDER TO FACILITATE THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (INCLUDING WHOLLY OWNED AND MIXED- OWNERSHIP GOVERNMENT CORPORATIONS) ALL UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE SUCH AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH SHALL BE PAID TO THE PERSON OR PERSONS SURVIVING AT THE DATE OF DEATH, IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER OF PRECEDENCE, AND SUCH PAYMENT SHALL BE A BAR TO RECOVERY BY ANY OTHER PERSON OF AMOUNTS SO PAID:

"FIRST, TO THE BENEFICIARY OR BENEFICIARIES DESIGNATED BY THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IN WRITING TO RECEIVE SUCH COMPENSATION FILED WITH THE GOVERNMENT AGENCY IN WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WAS EMPLOYED AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH, AND RECEIVED BY SUCH AGENCY PRIOR TO THE OFFICER'S OR EMPLOYEE'S DEATH;

"SECOND, IF THERE BE NO SUCH BENEFICIARY, TO THE WIDOW OR WIDOWER OF SUCH OFFICER, OR EMPLOYEE;

"THIRD, IF THERE BE NO BENEFICIARY OR SURVIVING SPOUSE, TO THE CHILD OR CHILDREN OF SUCH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, AND DESCENDANTS OF DECEASED CHILDREN, BY REPRESENTATION;

"FOURTH, IF NONE OF THE ABOVE, TO THE PARENTS OF SUCH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, OR THE SURVIVOR OF THEM;

"FIFTH, IF THERE BE NONE OF THE ABOVE, TO THE DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, OR IF THERE BE NONE, TO THE PERSON OR PERSONS DETERMINED TO BE ENTITLED THERETO UNDER THE LAWS OF THE DOMICILE OF THE DECEASED OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE.'

PURSUANT TO SECTION 3 OF THE SAID ACT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES HAS PROMULGATED REGULATIONS FOR THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES. PARAGRAPH 5 OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 104-REVISED, SUPPLEMENT NO. 1- REVISED, DATED OCTOBER 23, 1952, READS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"AN EMPLOYEE MAY DESIGNATE ANY PERSON OR PERSONS AS BENEFICIARY, BY EXECUTING AND FILING STANDARD FORM NO. 1152, DESIGNATION OF BENEFICIARY, UNPAID COMPENSATION OF DECEASED CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE. ALSO, A DESIGNATION PREVIOUSLY MADE MAY BE CHANGED OR REVOKED AS OF A LATER DATE BY EXECUTING AND FILING ANOTHER SUCH FORM, AFTER WHICH THE EARLIER DESIGNATION MAY BE RETURNED TO THE EMPLOYEE. THE DESIGNATION WILL BE FILED IN THE PARTICULAR OFFICE WHICH AUTHORIZED PAYMENT OF THE EMPLOYEE'S COMPENSATION, OR SUCH OTHER PLACE AS THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY MAY DIRECT, AND UNLESS CHANGED OR REVOKED, WILL BE EFFECTIVE SO LONG AS HIS EMPLOYMENT BY THE SAME AGENCY CONTINUES. * * * IN THE ABSENCE OF THE PRESCRIBED FORM, ANY DESIGNATION, CHANGE OR CANCELLATION OF BENEFICIARY WITNESSED AND FILED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GENERAL REQUIREMENTS OF THIS REGULATIONS SHALL BE ACCEPTABLE.'

IT IS APPARENT FROM THE APPLICABLE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS THAT AN EMPLOYEE HAS THE RIGHT TO DESIGNATE A BENEFICIARY OR BENEFICIARIES TO RECEIVE HIS UNPAID COMPENSATION AT TIME OF DEATH. ONCE AN EMPLOYEE HAS COMPLETED THE PRESCRIBED FORM, THE DESIGNATION OF BENEFICIARIES IS BINDING UNLESS AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IS TAKEN ON THE PART OF THE EMPLOYEE TO EFFECT A CHANGE THEREIN AS PRESCRIBED BY SUCH REGULATIONS. IN THE INSTANT CASE, SINCE THE DAUGHTERS WERE DESIGNATED BY THEIR FATHER PURSUANT TO THE FOREGOING STATUTE AND REGULATIONS THEY BECAME ENTITLED TO ANY SUMS DUE HIM FROM THE GOVERNMENT AS COMPENSATION TO THE EXCLUSION OF ALL OTHERS. WHILE IT MAY BE THAT THE DECEDENT INTENDED, AT THE TIME OF HIS REMARRIAGE, TO CHANGE THE DESIGNATION OF BENEFICIARY, THERE IS NOTHING OF RECORD TO SHOW THAT HE TOOK AFFIRMATIVE ACTION TO COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED REGULATIONS. ACCORDINGLY, THE ACTION TAKEN IN SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 4, 1955, MUST BE SUSTAINED.