B-125419, OCT. 21, 1955

B-125419: Oct 21, 1955

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PEARL SMITH: TO REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 16 AND SEPTEMBER 19. YOUR CLAIM WAS CONSIDERED BY THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE AND DISALLOWED BY LETTER DATED JULY 11. YOU STATE THAT NO EXECUTOR OR ADMINISTRATOR OF HIS ESTATE HAS BEEN OR WILL BE APPOINTED. LOCKWOOD WAS SEPARATED FROM HIS FAMILY AND THAT YOU LIVED WITH HIM AS HIS COMMON-LAW WIFE FOR A PERIOD OF APPROXIMATELY TEN YEARS PRIOR TO HIS DEATH. APPARENTLY IS DUE TO THIS RELATIONSHIP THAT YOU CLAIMED THE PROCEEDS OF THE CHECK. YOU MAY BE ADVISED THAT COMMON-LAW MARRIAGES CURRENTLY ARE NOT RECOGNIZED UNDER THE LAWS OF NEW JERSEY. THE INFORMATION SUBMITTED BY YOU DISCLOSES THAT THE DECEASED WAS SURVIVED BY A LEGAL WIDOW AND THREE ADULT CHILDREN.

B-125419, OCT. 21, 1955

TO MRS. PEARL SMITH:

TO REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 16 AND SEPTEMBER 19, 1955, IN REGARD TO YOUR CLAIM FOR THE PROCEEDS OF INCOME TAX REFUND CHECK NO. 33,211,213, FOR $114.35, DRAWN ON MAY 2, 1955, TO THE ORDER OF MR. WILLIS LOCKWOOD BY S. D. PUTNAM, SYMBOL 423. YOUR CLAIM WAS CONSIDERED BY THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE AND DISALLOWED BY LETTER DATED JULY 11, 1955, FOR THE REASONS STATED THEREIN.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE PAYEE DIED, INTESTATE, ON DECEMBER 28, 1954, AND YOU STATE THAT NO EXECUTOR OR ADMINISTRATOR OF HIS ESTATE HAS BEEN OR WILL BE APPOINTED. ALSO, YOU STATE THAT MR. LOCKWOOD WAS SEPARATED FROM HIS FAMILY AND THAT YOU LIVED WITH HIM AS HIS COMMON-LAW WIFE FOR A PERIOD OF APPROXIMATELY TEN YEARS PRIOR TO HIS DEATH. APPARENTLY IS DUE TO THIS RELATIONSHIP THAT YOU CLAIMED THE PROCEEDS OF THE CHECK. HOWEVER, YOU MAY BE ADVISED THAT COMMON-LAW MARRIAGES CURRENTLY ARE NOT RECOGNIZED UNDER THE LAWS OF NEW JERSEY. FURTHER, THE INFORMATION SUBMITTED BY YOU DISCLOSES THAT THE DECEASED WAS SURVIVED BY A LEGAL WIDOW AND THREE ADULT CHILDREN.

UNDER THE LAWS OF NEW JERSEY, THE DOMICILE OF THE PAYEE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH, HIS WIDOW IS ENTITLED, WITHOUT ADMINISTRATION, TO AN ESTATE WHICH DOES NOT EXCEED $500, FREE FROM LIEN OF ALL DEBTS OF THE INTESTATE. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE IN THE PRESENT RECORD THAT THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED INCLUDED OTHER ASSETS IN ADDITION TO THE CHECK HERE INVOLVED. ACCORDINGLY, THE PROCEEDS OF THE CHECK, WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT, MUST BE HELD HERE PENDING THE RECEIPT OF A PROPER CLAIM FOR THE WIDOW.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE ABOVE, AND SINCE WE HAVE NO DISCRETION IN SUCH MATTERS, BUT MUST BE GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE STATE INVOLVED, THE ACTION HERETOFORE TAKEN IN DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM APPEARS CORRECT, AND IS SUSTAINED.