a report of similar import with reference to investigations abroad, in Yugoslavia.
The motion to deposit the residue of the estate in the Court for unknown heirs is denied. And under the doctrine laid down in Frazier v. Kutz, 1943, 78 U.S.App.D.C. 241, 139 F.2d 380 the Court concludes that the presumption of law that exists that a deceased left heirs has been rebutted by the summary and detailed findings of the Master and that a full and fair hearing has been had, and on the evidence adduced it has been decided as decisively as anything of a similar character can be decided in the circumstances that the intestate died without relatives entitled to take under the statute of decedents.
I find further, on the evidence presented to the Master and on the motions and affidavits, that under the provisions of Section 18-717 of the D.C.Code Code dealing with escheat, it appears as a fact that there is no widow or relation of the intestate within the fifth degree as that is reckoned under the terms of the statute and that, therefore, as a consequence, there is an escheat but not for the benefit of the District of Columbia but for that of the United States of America under the terms of Title 38, § 450(3) of the U.S.Code Annotated, which as far as pertinent reads:
'* * * Provided further, That any funds in the hands of a guardian, curator, conservator, or person legally vested with the care of the beneficiary or his estate, derived from compensation, automatic or term insurance, emergency officers' retirement pay, or pension, payable under said Acts, which under the law of the State wherein the beneficiary had his last legal residence would escheat to the State, shall escheat to the United States and shall be returned by such guardian, curator, conservator, or person legally vested with the care of the beneficiary or his estate, or by the personal representative of the deceased beneficiary, less legal expenses of any administration necessary to determine that an escheat is in order, to the Veterans' Administration, and shall be deposited to the credit of the current appropriations provided for payment of compensation, insurance or pension.'
The District of Columbia contends that Congress did not mean to include the District of Columbia within the meaning of the word 'State' as used in the above quoted section. The reasoning advanced is deductive, viz.: that it purposely excluded the District, since any monies escheating to the District would be deposited in the Treasury of the United States.
This, however, is clearly contrary to expressed intent of Congress. For if the funds were to escheat to the District, they would go into the Treasury of the United States earmarked District funds. From the language of the above quoted section it appears conclusive that such funds are meant to be returned to the Treasury and used only by the Veterans' Administration for the payment of compensation, insurance, or pensions. The intent of Congress as to the disposition of such can only be carried out by including the District of Columbia within the meaning of the Word 'State' and by holding that they shall escheat to the United States.
Such a construction of the word 'State' is also indicated by a reference to the similar escheat provision contained in Section 451 of Title 38. Here the phrase 'laws of the State of residence' and 'laws of the place of his residence' are used interchangeably. The latter phrase, it seems to me, clearly includes the District of Columbia, indicating that Congress by the use of the word 'State' in the section above quoted meant to include the District.
Having found, therefore, that the decedent died without leaving heirs at law or next of kin within the fifth degree, the Court concludes as a matter of law that the funds of this estate shall escheat to the United States.