B-148242, MAR. 8, 1962

B-148242: Mar 8, 1962

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OUR ACTION WAS PREMISED ON THE BASIS THAT. YOU WERE NOT ENTITLED TO SHARE IN THE DECEDENT'S ESTATE IN YOUR CAPACITY AS HIS DAUGHTER-IN-LAW. YOU STATE THAT YOU HAVE SUBMITTED YOUR CLAIM AS GUARDIAN OF THE DECEDENT RATHER THAN AS HIS DAUGHTER-IN- LAW. IS PRESENTED TO THE DISTRICT COURT THAT ANY INHABITANT OF THE COUNTY IS: "1. * * * "AND THE ALLEGATIONS OF THE PETITION ARE SATISFACTORILY PROVED UPON THE TRIAL. OUR OFFICE WOULD NOT HAVE ACCEPTED YOUR STATUS AS THE DECEDENT'S GUARDIAN. THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT DEATH OF EITHER THE GUARDIAN OR WARD TERMINATES THE GUARDIANSHIP AND NOTHING HAS BEEN FOUND TO INDICATE THAT IOWA DOES NOT FOLLOW THIS RULE. THE SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS INVOLVED WILL NOT BE PAID PENDING CLAIM FROM A CLAIMANT WHO QUALIFIES UNDER SECTION 635.65.

B-148242, MAR. 8, 1962

TO MRS. DOROTHY SORENSEN:

BY UNDATED LETTER RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE ON FEBRUARY 15, 1962, YOU, IN EFFECT, REQUESTED RECONSIDERATION OF OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF FEBRUARY 8, 1962. BY THAT ACTION, WE DENIED YOUR CLAIM FOR $39 REPRESENTING SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS DUE SENIUS SORENSEN, DECEASED. OUR ACTION WAS PREMISED ON THE BASIS THAT, UNDER THE LAWS OF IOWA, YOU WERE NOT ENTITLED TO SHARE IN THE DECEDENT'S ESTATE IN YOUR CAPACITY AS HIS DAUGHTER-IN-LAW.

IN YOUR REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION, YOU STATE THAT YOU HAVE SUBMITTED YOUR CLAIM AS GUARDIAN OF THE DECEDENT RATHER THAN AS HIS DAUGHTER-IN- LAW. YOU EXPLAIN: "BECAUSE OF HIS MENTAL HEALTH, AS WELL AS HIS PHYSICAL THE SOCIAL SECURITY REPRESENTATIVE FROM CEDAR RAPIDS HAD ME SIGN PAPERS TO THE EFFECT THAT I SHOULD SIGN HIS CHECKS AND BE RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS CARE.'

SECTION 670.2 OF TITLE 33 OF THE IOWA CODE ANNOTATED PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS.)

"WHEN A PETITION, VERIFIED BY AFFIDAVIT, IS PRESENTED TO THE DISTRICT COURT THAT ANY INHABITANT OF THE COUNTY IS:

"1. AN IDIOT, LUNATIC, OR PERSON OF UNSOUND MIND; * * *

"AND THE ALLEGATIONS OF THE PETITION ARE SATISFACTORILY PROVED UPON THE TRIAL, THE COURT MAY APPOINT A GUARDIAN OF THE PROPERTY OF SUCH PERSON.'

IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE ABOVE-QUOTED LANGUAGE SETS OUT THE REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN GUARDIANSHIP APPOINTMENT IN THE PRESENT MATTER AND, ABSENT QUALIFICATION UNDER THIS LANGUAGE, OUR OFFICE WOULD NOT HAVE ACCEPTED YOUR STATUS AS THE DECEDENT'S GUARDIAN. EVEN ASSUMING YOUR PROPER APPOINTMENT AS THE DECEDENT'S GUARDIAN, THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT DEATH OF EITHER THE GUARDIAN OR WARD TERMINATES THE GUARDIANSHIP AND NOTHING HAS BEEN FOUND TO INDICATE THAT IOWA DOES NOT FOLLOW THIS RULE. SEE 25 AM.JR. GUARDIAN AND WARD, SECTION 53.

MOREOVER, SECTION 635.65 OF TITLE 32 OF THE IOWA CODE ANNOTATED GIVES FIRST ORDER OF PREFERENCE TO "THE CHARGES OF THE LAST SICKNESS AND FUNERAL OF DECEASED.' THEREFORE, THE SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS INVOLVED WILL NOT BE PAID PENDING CLAIM FROM A CLAIMANT WHO QUALIFIES UNDER SECTION 635.65, OR ONE WHO ESTABLISHES THAT SUCH CHARGES HAVE OTHERWISE BEEN PAID FROM THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, AND WHO IS OTHERWISE ENTITLED THERETO UNDER THE LAWS OF DESCENT AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE STATE OF IOWA.

WE HOPE THAT WHAT IS HERE PRESENTED ADEQUATELY EXPLAINS THE POSITION OUR OFFICE MUST TAKE IN SUSTAINING THE SETTLEMENT OF FEBRUARY 8, 1962, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM.