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Office of the General Counsel

Matter of: [xxx]
File Number: S002883
Date: May 11, 1999

OPM Contact: Jo-Ann Chabot

This responds to a request for assistance in determining the disposition of the checks for veterans benefits, amounting to $[xxx], that had been issued to the decedent but had not been negotiated prior to his death. We have determined that the amount at issue should be paid to the estate of the subject decedent.

The record shows that the decedent died on May 4, 1998 and was survived by a sister. On July 28, 1998, the Probate Registrar of the Circuit Court in [xxx], appointed the decedent's sister as the Personal Representative of the decedent's estate. On February 16, 1999, the attorney for the Personal Representative of the decedent's estate wrote to the [agency] on her behalf, reiterating his client's request for payment of the unnegotiated checks. The [agency] advises that the funds are available and will not escheat to the state.

Section 5122 of title 38, United States Code, states in part that a check received by a payee in payment of accrued benefits shall, if the payee died on or after the last day of the period covered by the check, be returned to the issuing office and canceled, unless negotiated by the payee or duly appointed representative of the payee's estate. The record currently before us shows that the decedent's sister has been duly appointed to represent his estate under the laws of [state]. Accordingly, the decedent's remaining $[xxx] in unpaid veteran's benefits should be paid to his estate, if otherwise correct.

We are returning the file on this claim for action per our decision. We are advising the Personal Representative of the decedent's estate of our decision by sending a copy of it to her attorney.

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