UNCLASSIFIED (U)

7 FAM 290

PERSONAL ESTATES OF DECEASED U.S. CITIZENS ABROAD

(CT:CON-898;   08-27-2020)
(Office of Origin:  CA/OCS)

7 FAM 291  INTRODUCTION AND AUTHORITIES

(CT:CON-881;   09-19-2019)

a. Overseas Citizens Services (CA/OCS) is the action office in the Department for cases involving the personal estates of deceased private U.S. citizens abroad.  Posts should address all inquiries to CA/OCS/ACS, which will confer with CA/OCS/L (ASK-OCS-L@state.gov) when necessary and appropriate.

b. The U.S. Code and Code of Federal Regulations (22 U.S.C. 2715c, 22 U.S.C. 4196,  and 22 CFR 72) et.seq. authorizes consular officers to serve as “provisional conservator” of the personal effects of U.S. citizens who have died or who resided at the time of death in the officer’s consular district, provided that there is no legal representative, partner in trade, or trustee in the host country to take care of the decedent’s estate.  The consular officer may only serve this role if authorized by treaty provisions or permitted by the laws or authorities or established usage of the country wherein the death occurs or the decedent is domiciled.  Further, deceased U.S. military and Peace Corps personnel are generally handled by their own respective procedures.

c.  Three specific steps are required of consular officers as “provisional conservators”:  collecting decedents’ assets (personal effects), paying debts, and disbursing the remainder.  In addition, consular officers must keep legal representatives informed regularly of the substantive progress made in handling personal estates, to minimize the complaints which stem largely from the lack of information concerning the status of the matter or an understanding of the procedures employed.  This can be done directly or through your CA/OCS/ACS country officer.

d. If a consular officer is unable to establish the U.S. citizenship of a decedent even after checking with CA/OCS/ACS, but has reason to believe that the decedent was a U.S. citizen, the consular officer should take appropriate measures to conserve the personal estate.  These measures may consist of sealing the decedent’s premises and/or taking physical possession of all personal effects.

e. The consular officer who actually takes possession and disposes of the personal estate of the deceased is the responsible officer.  Upon departure from the post, either on transfer or extended leave, the responsible officer has a duty to transfer accountability to a successor officer for any estate that is not closed.  The successor officer then becomes the responsible officer.  A receipt for this purpose should be signed by the succeeding responsible officer.  See 7 FAM Exhibit 291(e).

f.  The instructions in this subchapter serve as a guide to consular officers on handling estate cases systematically and efficiently.  All estates must be handled consistent with applicable statutes and the Department’s estate regulations at 22 CFR Part 72.  These regulations may not encompass all of the circumstances, conditions, and procedures that may have to be considered in disposing of effects.  Consular officers are encouraged to consult with CA/OCS/ACS for guidance and assistance, as a failure to safeguard personal estates may result in the institution of a civil suit or other action against the consular officer.  CA/OCS/ACS will confer with CA/OCS/L as necessary.

NOTE:  An information sheet, "Estates of Deceased U.S. Citizens," may be furnished to all interested parties who desire a summary of the consular officer’s responsibilities for the personal estate of a deceased citizen.  The information sheet may be reproduced locally and is also available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet Page.

g. Consular officers may find a summary record on the disposition of personal estates to be a useful tool (see 7 FAM Exhibit 291(g)) .  This sample provides a systematic approach to handling personal estate cases. Although not mandatory, use of the summary is recommended, because consular officers are frequently asked to furnish such information.  It is suggested that a copy of the list be attached to the inside front cover of each consular officer’s estate folder for ready reference.

h. Deceased State Department Employees:

(1)  Assigned Abroad:  The post administrative officer, not the consular officer, is responsible for reporting the deaths of persons employed by the Department.  Cabled reports to the Department must bear the caption “OBIT/STATE,” “OBIT/AID,” OBIT/FCS, or “OBIT/USAGM,” as appropriate, and the TAGS symbol CASC.  The consular officer should, however, inventory the personal estate when there is no legal representative or other authorized person present and ensure that it is shipped at U.S. government expense to the proper person (see 7 FAM 225).

(2)  Contract Employees:  In the event of the death of a Department of State contract employee while abroad, responsibility for notifying the contracting firm (when the contract is with a company) or next of kin (NOK) (if a personal services contract) lies with the post's management section.  The management officer may wish to seek the advice and guidance of the consular officer regarding disposition of personal effects.  (See 7 FAM 225 paragraph c.)

i.  Department of Defense:  The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for reporting the death of military personnel and for disposing of the personal estates of its military personnel who have died abroad.  If no DOD representative or other authorized person is present in the consular district or the host country in which the death occurred, the consular officer takes possession of the personal estate, pending instructions from DOD headquarters in the United States, or regional headquarters abroad.  No fee is charged for such service DOD’s responsibility for the personal effects of deceased citizens does not extend to the personal effects of U.S. citizen dependents of DOD military or civilian personnel, nor to U.S. citizen civilian contractors of DOD and their dependents.  The disposition of the personal estate of such persons should comply with the procedures set forth for other U.S. citizens.  (See 7 FAM 224.1.)

j.  Coast Guard:  The U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for disposing of the personal estates of its military and civilian personnel.  If no authorized person is present in the consular district or the host country in which the death occurred, the consular officer takes possession of these personal estates, pending instructions from the Coast Guard headquarters at Washington, DC.  No fee is charged for such service.  Coast Guard responsibility for the personal effects of deceased citizens does not extend to dependents of Coast Guard personnel.  (See 7 FAM 224.2.)

7 FAM 292  WHEN DOES CONSULAR OFFICER HAVE RESPONSIBILITY AS PROVISIONAL CONSERVATOR?

7 FAM 292.1  Responsibility When Legal Representative is Present (Including Next of Kin)

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

a. 22 CFR 72.1(b) provides:

“Legal Representative means:

(1)  An executor designated by will intended to operate in the country where the death occurred or in the country where the deceased was residing at the time of death to take possession and dispose of the decedent’s personal estate;

(2)  An administrator appointed by a court of law in intestate proceedings in the country where the death occurred or in the country where the deceased was residing at the time of death to take possession and dispose of the decedent’s estates;

(3)  The next-of-kin, if authorized in the country where the death occurred or in the country where the deceased was residing at the time of death to take possession and dispose of the decedent’s personal estate; or

(4)  An authorized agent of the individuals described in paragraphs (b)((1), (b)(2), and (b)(3) of this section.”

b. A consular officer should not act as provisional conservator if the consular officer knows that a legal representative, as defined in 22 CFR 72.1(b), is present in the foreign country.

c.  If the consular officer learns that a legal representative is present after the consular officer has taken possession, the consular officer should follow the procedures specified in7 FAM 297.

d. If the consular officer learns that a legal representative is present after disposal of the personal estate, consult CA/OCS/L (ASK-OCS-L@state.gov).

7 FAM 292.2  Responsibility When a Will Exists

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

a. If a will that is intended to operate in the foreign country is found among the personal effects taken into possession by the consular officer, the officer shall notify the named legal representative and give that person preliminary information on the personal estate left by the deceased.  Consular officers are encouraged to consult CA/OCS/ACS promptly for guidance or assistance in such instances.

b  If a will is intended to operate in the foreign country in which the death occurred, and a local or domiciliary representative named by the decedent qualifies and takes charge of the personal estate promptly, the consular officer should assume no responsibility for the estate and should not take possession, inventory and dispose of the personal property and effects, or in any way serve as agent for the local or domiciliary representative.

c.  If the law of the country permits, and if the local or domiciliary representative does not qualify promptly, the consular officer may have to take protective action in the interest of the estate to the extent of placing a consular seal on the personal property and effects of the decedent, such seal to be broken or removed only at the request of the local or domiciliary representative.  The consular officer should see that the foreign authorities accord due recognition to the U.S. interests involved and provide appropriate protection for the property.

d. If prolonged delays are encountered by the local or domiciliary representative in making arrangements to take charge of the personal estate, the consular officer should consult CA/OCS, concerning whether the will should be offered for probate, if such action is deemed advisable in the interest of the estate.

e. If a will is intended to operate in the United States, the consular officer should forward a copy of it immediately to the person or persons designated, when their whereabouts are known, the Department may be asked to assist in locating the fiduciary.  When the fiduciary cannot be located, the will should be sent to the appropriate court in the U.S. State of the decedent’s domicile.  The consular officer should observe special instructions contained in the will for the conservation of the personal estate insofar as the laws of the foreign country and these regulations permit the consular officer to act.

7 FAM 292.3  Responsibility When a Trustee for Personal Estate is Present

(CT:CON-336;   06-23-2010)

a. The U.S. Code (22 U.S.C. 2715c) provides that the consular officer should not take possession or dispose of the personal estate of a deceased citizen who has left or there is otherwise appointed a “trustee appointed to take care of his personal estate”.

b. A trustee may be a person or corporation to whom property of the decedent is legally entrusted for the benefit of another person.  If at the time of death, the trustee (whether individual or corporate) holding the records pertaining to the trust is present in the country of death or domicile, the consular officer may not take over the role of provisional conservator.

7 FAM 292.4  Responsibility When a Partner in Trade is Present

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

a. A business partner of a deceased U.S. citizen has no inherent right to take custody or administer the personal estate of the decedent.  However, where the decedent has appointed a “partner in trade” has been appointed by the decedent to take care of his personal estate, the consular officer may not serve as provisional conservator.  (See 22 U.S.C. 2715c.)

b. Where a business partner asserts a right to handle the personal estate of a deceased partner, the consular officer must ascertain whether the partner was, in fact, appointed by the deceased to take care of his personal estate.

7 FAM 293  Consular Officer Responsibility as Provisional Conservator

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

a. Administrator of Estate:  The consular officer should not accept appointment from any foreign state or from a court in the United States to act as administrator or to assist in administering the personal estate of a deceased citizen or non-citizen national except upon a specific instruction from the Department.  (See 22 CFR 72.19.)  Consular officers, when requested to serve as administrator, should seek Department (CA/OCS/ACS) guidance.

b. Legal Services:  The consular officer should not act as attorney or agent for the estate.  (See 22 CFR 72.20.)  Neither should the consular office employ counsel at the expense of the U.S. government in collecting and disposing of the personal estate of a deceased citizen or non-citizen national.

c.  Financial Responsibility:  The consular officer, as provisional conservator, must not assume and should not incur any expense on behalf of an estate in excess of funds on hand or funds made available by other persons to collect and dispose of the estate.  (See 22 CFR 72.21.)  In the latter case, no expense should be incurred until funds have been received.

d. On the High Seas:  There is no express provision of law authorizing the consular officer to take possession and dispose of the personal estate of a U.S. citizen or non-citizen national, other than a seaman, who dies on the high seas.  In such cases, the consular officer at the first port of call following the death should endeavor to take possession of the personal estate.  Consult CA/OCS/ACS for guidance.

e. Aboard a Vessel of American Registry:  If the death of a U.S. citizen or non-citizen national, other than a seaman, occurs on board an American flagged vessel, the consular officer shall request the master of the vessel, in the absence of an authorized person, to take custody of and return the personal estate to the shipping company in the United States for forwarding to the legal representative or other authorized person.  These actions are generally carried out by the consular officer at the first port of call following the death.  If this is not feasible, consult CA/OCS/ACS for further guidance.

f.  Aboard a Vessel of Foreign Registry:  In the absence of a legal representative or other authorized person, the consular officer shall take possession and dispose of the personal estate of a U.S. citizen who dies aboard a foreign vessel.  These actions are generally carried out by the consular officer at the first port of call following the death.

g. Seaman:   See 7 FAM 714, for procedures governing the disposition of the personal estates of seamen who die while serving as members of the crew on an American vessel.

h. Responsibility of Consular Agent:

(1)  A consular agent has no statutory authority to take possession of or dispose of the personal estate of a deceased citizen of the United States (except under the immediate supervision, and as the agent, of his or her principal consular officer.  The consular agent, therefore, should immediately report pertinent circumstances to, and request instructions from, the principal consular officer, who immediately assumes the responsibility for taking possession and disposing of the personal estate of a deceased U.S. citizen; and

(2)  A consular agent may be of valuable assistance to the consular officer and to the decedent’s heirs by following the instructions of the principal consular officer for the temporary safe-keeping of the effects.  In the event that the consular officer is not able to travel to the scene of the death on the same day, or within several days, the consular officer may task the consular agent to:

(a)  Accept and hold the personal effects of the deceased if the local authorities are unable or unwilling to do so;

(b)  Request the authorities or other agency to turn over the effects to the consular agent, together with a signed inventory of the same;

(c)  Arrange for the safeguarding of those effects not taken into possession (for example, motor vehicles and household goods); and

(d)  Ship the effects to the supervisory post, at the expense of the estate, for appropriate disposition.

7 FAM 294  TAKING POSSESSION OF EFFECTS

7 FAM 294.1  Actual Possession

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

A consular officer, acting as a provisional conservator, is normally expected to take physical possession of the following articles.  (See 22 CFR 72.13.):

(1)  Convertible assets, such as consisting of currency, redeemable transportation tickets, and any instruments that are freely negotiable by the consular officer;

(2)  Luggage;

(3)  Wearing apparel;

(4)  Jewelry, heirlooms, and other articles of sentimental value;

(5)  Nonnegotiable instruments which include any document or instrument not saleable or transferable by the consular officer because it requires either the signature of the decedent or action by, or endorsement of, the decedent's legal representative.  Nonnegotiable instruments include credit cards, transportation tickets not redeemable by the consular officer, traveler's checks, promissory notes, stocks, bonds, or other similar instruments, bank books, and books showing deposits in savings and loan institutions;

(6)  Personal effects that are of such nature and quantity that they may easily be taken into possession; and

(7)  Personal documents and papers.

7 FAM 294.2  Nominal Possession

(CT:CON-826;   08-06-2018)

a. Recognizing that it is not feasible to take into physical possession all property, as provisional conservator, the consular officer is not expected to take physical possession of large articles of personal property which may be found in residences and places of storage, such as furniture, household effects, and bulky works of art.  Neither is the consular officer expected to take physical possession of motor vehicles, aircraft and watercraft, livestock, toiletries or perishable items.  Large articles of personal property should be listed separately from the Inventory of Effects, and they usually do not need to be appraised.  The property should be safeguarded by police and/or court seals.  If this is not possible, secure the property by affixing the consular seal on the premises or by taking reasonable steps to insure that such items are placed in safekeeping at the expense of the estate until action can be taken by the legal representative.

b. Consular officers should not seal premises that are not owned by the decedent, such as a rented apartment or hotel room because such action may interfere with an owner or landlord’s rights.  Instead, the consular officer should take possession of the decedent’s property or store it the expense of the estate, as appropriate.  If a case involves a suspicious death, local authorities may seal the premises, in which case the consular officer’s role as provisional conservator is limited.  Where possible, the officer should solicit the assistance of local authorities in making an inventory of the decedent’s personal effects as soon circumstances permit.

c.  In cases where the consular officer has merely to transfer the personal estate from the custody of a foreign official to the legal representative of the decedent, an inventory and appraisal of the effects are not required.  The consular officer may accept the estate and a list of items being transferred from the foreign official and give the official a receipt for the items being transferred.  The consular officer also prepares a statement of discharge from further accountability for the effects upon delivery to the legal representative for the latter’s signature (see 7 FAM Exhibit 294.2).

7 FAM 294.3  Bank Deposits Abroad

(CT:CON-336;   06-23-2010)

A consular officer is not authorized to withdraw or otherwise dispose of bank accounts and other assets deposited in financial institutions left by a deceased U.S. citizen or non-citizen national in a foreign country, absent express approval and specific instructions from the Department.  A consular officer must report the existence of such accounts and assets to the legal representative, if any, and help the representative understand local law on accessing the accounts and assets.  (See 22 CFR 72.12.)

7 FAM 294.4  Real Property

(CT:CON-434;   01-22-2013)

Questions about disposition of real property should be addressed to CA/OCS/L (ASK-OCS-L@state.gov)  (See 22 CFR 72.29.)

7 FAM 294.5  Affixing the Consular Seal

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

The consular officer should, in his or her discretion, affix seals on premises and property not in the consular officer’s possession or safeguarded by local authorities.  This is done in coordination with, and with the consent of, the local authorities.  The seal should be in the form of a typewritten notice in the local language, stating the following:

The personal property located on these premises (or the personal property behind this seal) is the property of the late (name of deceased) , a citizen of the United States of America, and is under the custody of the (Embassy, Consulate General, Consulate) of the United States of America at (place), pending determination of a legal representative.  This seal may not be broken nor the property under it removed or otherwise disturbed except by order of the competent judicial or other authorities of (country or political subdivision) or by an official of the (post).  All claims against the late (name of deceased) should be referred to the consular officer of the (post) who is currently serving in the capacity of provisional conservator of the estate.

        __________________________

        (Name)

        __________________________

        (Title)

7 FAM 294.6  When Immediate Possession is Impractical

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

a. The consular officer need not take physical possession of the personal estate of a U.S. citizen or non-citizen national if it is impractical to do so.  For example, a consular officer would not need to generally travel long distances, such as more than a day’s journey, or to traverse difficult or dangerous terrain, solely for the purpose of taking physical possession of personal effects.  (See 22 CFR 72.15.)  Instead the consular officer must take appropriate action to protect the estate such as described in paragraphs 294.6b and 294.6c below.  The consular officer should use discretion in this regard and report unusual circumstances to CA/OCS.

b. If the personal estate is small in size, the consular official usually requests that it be shipped to the post at the expense of the estate.  The consular officer should request that the party who has custody of the effects include a list of the items that are shipped.  Personal responsibility for the disposition of the items does not begin until the articles are in the actual possession of the officer.

c.  If the personal estate is comprised of articles too bulky and too costly to ship to the post, the consular officer should request local authorities to safeguard the property until the officer or legal representative can travel to that area.  Consular officers are reminded that when handling the personal effects of deceased U.S. citizens, unusual transportation or other special expenses incurred by officers or other employees of consular posts may not be borne by the U.S. government.  (See 22 CFR 72.21.)

7 FAM 294.7  Property in Other Consular Districts

(CT:CON-336;   06-23-2010)

a. When the death of a citizen occurs in one district and the bulk of the personal estate is in another consular district, the consular officer in the district where the death occurred should notify not only the decedent’s NOK, but also the consular officer in whose district the personal effects are located, so that appropriate measures can be taken to safeguard the personal estate.  If a qualified legal representative is not present in either consular district, the personal effects should be taken into possession by both consular officers if effects are located in both districts and each officer should prepare an inventory of effects.

b. When documentary proof of entitlement is furnished to one post, the consular officer should notify the other post by cable so that the legal representative will not be required to furnish duplicate documentation to the other post. Posts may use cash resources from the personal estate in either consular district to defray the costs of shipment of remains and estates-related expenses, provided authorization to do so has been received from the legal representative or where no NOK or legal representative can be established.

7 FAM 295  INVENTORY and APPRAISAL

7 FAM 295.1  Inventory Requirement

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

a. 22 U.S.C. 2715c requires that when there is no legal representative identified, after taking possession of the decedent’s personal effects, the consular officer make an inventory article by article in the presence of one witness and make a careful appraisal of the value of the effects.  The consular officer must sign the inventory and annex thereto a certificate as to the accuracy of the inventory and appraisal of each article.  If appropriate the consular officer may seek a professional appraisal of apparently valuable items to the extent funds are available from the estate or other sources such as NOK to cover the cost of the appraisal.  See 7 FAM Exhibit 295.1.  Posts are authorized to reproduce the inventory blank form locally.

b. The consular officer should prepare an inventory of effects whenever no qualified legal representative of the decedent is present in the consular district.  The consular officer should act promptly to inventory and appraise the effects in order to have a basis for guidance and instruction for the NOK.  Prepare the inventory in quadruplicate, with additional copies made as necessary.  The inventory should contain the following elements:

(1)  A statement in U.S. dollar value of the convertible assets, as of the date of the inventory.  This category should include foreign and U.S. currency and redeemable negotiable instruments such as unused airline tickets; and

NOTE:  A notation should be made on the inventory that the amount is subject to the exchange rate and any requisite exchange fees at the time of transaction.

(2)  A list of all other items, in appropriate categories, taking into consideration the following factors:

(a)  If a category or entry shown in 7 FAM Exhibit 295.1 is not applicable, insert “N/A” on the inventory of effects.  The category of “perishable items” should appear on the inventory only if foodstuffs having commercial value are included in the personal estate in the officer’s possession.  (The consular officer should dispose of food having no commercial value.);

(b)  If articles of used clothing have little or no local marketable value, list them as miscellaneous clothing.  However, regardless of the value, articles of clothing, except those causing embarrassment or sorrow (such as extremely soiled or blood-stained garments), should be held pending disposition instructions from the legal representative;

NOTE:  Consular officers should consider holding certain badly soiled or damaged clothing that may have sentimental value to the relative such as a hand-knit sweater, scarf etc.  These items should be cleaned or repaired to the extent possible especially if the soiling/damage was caused by the circumstances of death.  Costs for cleaning and repair should be at the expense of the estate.

(c)  Other personal effects of little or no commercial value, such as medicines and toilet articles, should be listed as miscellaneous items and should not be disposed of or destroyed until specific instructions for their disposition have been received.  If the cause of death is under investigation, it may become necessary for prescription drugs found among a deceased person’s effects to be analyzed by local investigative authorities; and

(d)  Assign a value to every category of items shown in the inventory.  If a category is considered to have no commercial value, list “nil”.

c.  List separately and describe completely all nonnegotiable instruments, such as traveler’s checks, credit cards, and Treasury checks:

(1)  If currencies are not convertible currency in the host country or if there are no local conversion facilities, the consular officer should list the currency under the category of “nonnegotiable” instruments;

(2)  Before including a balance shown in a bank book in the receipts column, confirm with the bank that the account is open/current and the amount shown in the book is accurate; and

(3)  Include Treasury checks on the inventory, regardless of the date of issue. Checks issued prior to the payee’s death may be returned to the issuing agency, in which case the consular officer should urge the legal representative to contact the appropriate Federal agency to obtain instructions for filing a claim for the payment of benefits to which the beneficiary may be entitled.  Return to the issuing agency all checks dated after the payee’s death.  Refer to 7 FAM 527.6, How To Return Checks To The Department Of The Treasury, for further guidance.  The decedent’s file should include a copy of the transmittal document returning Treasury checks to the issuing agency.

d. The inventory should include the following certification above the signatures of the consular officer and the person who assisted in the preparation.

CERTIFICATION:  We have examined the above-listed articles and we believe that the value placed after each article is a fair valuation, made to best of our ability, based on their local market value.

e. In every case, the consular officer and the two persons who assisted in taking the inventory and its appraisal are to sign and date the inventory-original and each copy.

7 FAM 295.2  Inventory in Multiple Death Case

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

a. Sometimes in the case of multiple deaths it is not possible to identify all of the effects as the property of a particular individual.  In such event, the consular officer should prepare a separate inventory of the unidentified effects, so that possible claimants may review the descriptions of those items with a view toward an amicable disposition of items.  The names of all of the decedents should appear on the joint inventory to reflect that the articles have not been segregated as belonging to a particular decedent.

b. The joint inventory should describe in as much detail as possible each unidentifiable item that has intrinsic value.  It is generally best not to include items of nominal value which may cause embarrassment or added sorrow to relatives.  Such items would include, but are not limited to, burned, bloodstained, mutilated, obnoxious, or obscene items.

c.  Send a letter with the joint inventory and/or separate inventory which includes a statement indicating that an agreement among legal claimants on the disposition of items listed on the joint inventory must be reached before any items are released.  When all effects have been properly identified, a new inventory should be prepared for each decedent.

7 FAM 295.3  Distribution of the Inventory

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

The consular officer distributes the inventory, with an accompanying letter (see sample, 7 FAM Exhibit 295.3), in the following manner:

(1)  Submit the original to the Department, ATTN:  CA/OCS/ACS, under cover of a transmittal slip, memorandum, or other communication of record;

(2)  Retain one copy in the consular office files; and

(3)  Send two copies to the legal representative (one to return to the consular officer with items designated to be sent to the legal representative or some other disposition including written instructions regarding the remaining effects; and one to be retained by the legal representative).

7 FAM 295.4  Appraisal of Effects

(CT:CON-336;   06-23-2010)

a. The personal effects should be appraised by the consular officer on the basis of their local market value in dollars as of the date of the inventory. Take care not to overestimate or underestimate the value of any item.  If the effects include articles of considerable value, such as rare coins, expensive jewelry, a stamp collection, objects of art, or items of possible historic or scientific value, the consular officer may consider using the services of a professional appraiser at the expense of the estate or legal representative.

b. Whenever the services of a professional appraiser are used, the consular officer must obtain from the appraiser a statement showing the appraised value of each article and a receipt for payment of the appraisal expenses.  Include these documents in the estate file of the decedent.

7 FAM 296  FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS

7 FAM 296.1  Payment of Decedent's Debts

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

a. When appropriate in the exercise of prudent administration, the consular officer should pay debts of the decedent which the consular officer is reasonably certain are legitimately owed (e.g., evidenced by a written document such as a bill, lease or demand) in the country in which the decedent was residing at the time of death, out of the cash resources of the personal effects taken into possession by the consular officer.  (See 22 CFR 72.18.)  Cash resources do not include traveler’s checks or deposits in financial institutions in the foreign country.  Consular officers should request specific instructions from CA/OCS/ACS before attempting to obtain a refund of the traveler’s checks.

b. Debts may include hotel, hospital, and doctor’s bills, as well as expenses incidental to the disposition of the remains and the decedent’s personal effects.  A claim for damages for a negligent or wrongful act of the decedent is not a debt to be paid by the consular officer unless it has been decreed by a court to be a debt of the decedent.  Refer any doubtful claim against the estate to the legal representative or other person authorized to handle the claim.  Consult CA/OCS/ACS if problems arise or guidance is needed.

c.  When the cash resources of the personal estate are not sufficient to pay legitimate debts, the consular officer should endeavor to obtain sufficient funds from the legal representative.  If sufficient funds cannot be obtained from the legal representative or NOK, the consular officer should sell at auction such portion of the personal estate on hand as may be necessary to pay the legitimate debts.

d. Articles that are most marketable and, at the same time, least likely to be desired by the heirs of the decedent, should be sold first.  Jewelry, heirlooms, and articles that may have sentimental value to relatives should be sold only in case of necessity, and in the order suggested above.  Prior to such sale, a next of kin or legal representative should be notified of the proposed sale and should be afforded an opportunity to buy the items or make other arrangements for paying the expenses of the estate.

e. If the consular officer must sell a motor vehicle, aircraft, or water craft, the officer must ensure compliance with applicable registration requirements so that a good title is passed to the purchaser.  A complete record of all sales transactions, such as the local advertisement, and bills of sale, should be made a part of the decedent’s file.  If there’s uncertainty on how to proceed; contact CA/OCS/ACS.  Legal questions may also be addressed to CA/OCS/L (ASK-OCS-L@state.gov).

7 FAM 296.2  Methods of Disposing of Estate Assets When Necessary

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

a. As noted in 7 FAM 299, if, after one year from the decedent's death, no claimant with a legal right to the personal estate comes forward, the consular officer shall sell or dispose of the personal estate, except for financial instruments, jewelry, heirlooms and other articles of obvious sentimental value.

b. When necessary, you can use a newspaper advertisement, solicit written requests for bids from interested parties or the services of a professional auctioneer to ensure an impartial sale of the assets of an estate.  If the value of the estate does not justify the expenditure for the services of a professional auctioneer, the consular officer should solicit bids by placing notices on public bulletin boards if available.

c.  If no bids are received within a specified period of time, the consular officer may either donate to a charitable organization or destroy articles having no commercial or sentimental value, such as used clothes.  Include in the estate file a memorandum noting that no bids for such items were received.

7 FAM 296.3  Final Statement of Account and Disposal of Remaining Funds

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

The Final Statement of Account serves to document financial transactions for the disposition of the remains as well as the disposition of personal effects. The statement should clearly describe the assets received and the manner in which the assets have been disposed of or disbursed.  It should be fully reconciled and accurate financially; that is, total receipts must equal total disbursements; express all local currency entries in U.S. dollars equivalents.  (See 22 CFR 72.17.)

7 FAM 296.4  Preparation of Final Statement of Account

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

a. Prepare the final statement in triplicate with additional copies, as necessary.  The original and all copies must be signed, sealed, and dated.  A sample Final Statement of Account is shown in 7 FAM Exhibit 296.3 Final Statement of Account Exhibit.  Posts are authorized to reproduce this form locally.

b. Include in the receipt column the amount of the trust fund established in CA/OCS/ACS for preparation and disposition of the remains if the depositor is also the legal representative receiving the Final Statement of Account.  Also show in the receipts column of the final statement funds sent directly to the post by a depositor next of kin for preparation and shipment of the remains and for payment of local debts, such as hospital and hotel bills.  Do not use a trust fund established solely for disposition of the remains to pay other debts or for any other purpose, unless the depositor authorizes the consular officer to use remaining funds for other purposes, such as to defray hospital and hotel bills.

c.  Under convertible assets of the Inventory of Effects include funds for disposition of the remains and for payment of local debts, such as hospital and hotel bills, which are sent directly to the post rather than through the Department.  OCS/Trust funds should be deposited in the post’s Suspense Deposits Abroad (SDA) account.  Consult with the post management officer about the use and operation of the SDA account and review (see 4 FAH-1 H621.6).

d. Funds that are sent to the post and deposited in the SDA account to be used to pay for a particular expense should not be commingled with currency found among the personal effects, unless the depositor of these funds and the person who is entitled to receive the effects are one and the same.  A suspense account, e.g., trust accounts, should not be used to pay debts that are not identified by the depositor for payment by the consular officer.

e. If a balance remains in the depositor’s account after all specified debts have been paid, the budget and fiscal officer issues a U.S. Treasury check or commercial dollar instrument payable to the depositor(s).  Under no circumstances should the consular officer use a personal check.  The balance of currency found among the effects and funds from redeemed negotiable instruments, if not used to pay local debts, should also be converted to dollars in the form of a U.S. Treasury check or commercial instrument payable to the legal representative.  Any conversion fees should be deducted from the estate.  If the depositor and the legal representative are one and the same, a single check may be issued.

NOTE:  Redeem airline tickets within a year of issuance, if possible, or before the expiration date.

f.  If the post is not authorized to issue U.S. Treasury checks, and the Regional Finance Center is requested to do so, the Center should be given specific instructions to return the processed check to the post, not to the payee.

NOTE:  Make sure that the Treasury check is mailed to the legal representative with the Final Statement of Account, not separately.  Unless the check is accompanied by the Final Statement of Account, which indicates the manner in which funds were used, recipients of checks will have no accurate record to support a claim against the decedent’s personal estate.

7 FAM 296.5  Distribution of Final Statement of Account

(CT:CON-336;   06-23-2010)

The consular officer distributes the Final Statement of Account as follows:

(1)  The original is submitted to the Department, ATTN: CA/OCS;

(2)  One copy is retained in the estate file at the post; and

(3)  One copy is sent to the legal representative.  If someone other than the legal representative provided funds for use by the consular officer in disposing of the estate, that person should also get a copy.

7 FAM 297  RELEASE OF ESTATE

7 FAM 297.1  Requirements for Release

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

a. The consular officer may release the personal effects of a decedent only to a person who by virtue of court appointment or relationship is entitled to receive them.  (See 22 CFR 72.22.)  When the value of the estate is small, it may not be necessary to initiate probate proceedings.  The decision about filing to probate the estate is one solely for the legal representative or NOK to make.

b. The consular officer may release the personal estate in his or her custody to the legal representative under the following conditions:

(1)  If a person or entity claiming to be a legal representative comes forward at any time prior to transmission of the decedent's personal estate to the Secretary of State under 22 CFR 72.25, the consular officer may release the personal estate in his or her custody to the legal representative provided that:

(a)  The legal representative presents satisfactory evidence of the legal representative's right to receive the estate;

(b)  The legal representative pays any fees prescribed for consular services provided in connection with the disposition of remains or protection of the estate.  (See 22 CFR 22.1.);

(c)  The legal representative executes a release in the form prescribed by the Department; and

(d)  The Department approves the release of the personal estate.

(2)  Satisfactory evidence of the right to receive the estate may include:

(a)  In the case of an executor, a certified copy of letters testamentary or other evidence of legal capacity to act as executor;

(b)  In the case of an administrator, a certified copy of letters of administration or other evidence of legal capacity to act as administrator; and

(3)  In the case of the agent of an executor or administrator, a power of attorney or other document evidencing agency (in addition to evidence of the executor's or administrator's legal capacity to act).

7 FAM 297.2  Affidavit of NOK

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

a. When a person dies intestate (without a will that applies locally) and the personal estate in the consular officer’s possession consists only of clothing and/or other articles of worth $2000 or less and/or cash of a value equal to or less than $2000, the consular officer may accept an affidavit from the decedent’s next of kin as satisfactory evidence of entitlement.  In other words, the personal estate can be worth up to $4,000 (up to $2,000 in cash, and up to $2,000 in other articles).  See Form DS 5511, Affidavit of Surviving Spouse or Next of Kin.  When the affidavit lists multiple claimants who have an equal degree of kinship to the deceased such as siblings, the consular officer must obtain notarized statements from each agreeing to the disposition instructions or authorizing one to act on behalf of all as legal representative for the estate.  For guidelines as to the order of succession in intestate cases, refer to the section of the law digests in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and 7 FAM 200 Appendix D Identifying Next of Kin.

b. When a person dies without a will that applies locally and the personal estate in the consular officer’s possession consists of only clothing and/or other articles worth more than $2000 and/or the cash involved is of a value more than $2000, the Department must approve any release based on an affidavit of next of kin.  In general, the Department (CA/OCS) will consider approving such releases only in cases where state law prohibits the appointment of executors or administrators for estates that are valued at less than a specified amount and the law of the foreign country where the personal property is located would not prohibit such a release.  (See 22 CFR 72.23.)

c.  For questions concerning the limits established by a particular state, contact CA/OCS/L at ASK-OCS-L@state.gov.

7 FAM 297.3  Shipment of Effects to the NOK or Legal Representative

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

a  In every case in which a deceased U.S. citizen’s effects are shipped to the next of kin or legal representative outside the consular district where the death occurred, prepare and send with the shipment a letter of sympathy which offers further assistance.  The letter should be prepared on post letterhead and signed by the head of the consular section.  It should be individually prepared and not a pre-printed form.  Posts may find it necessary, in some cases (particularly major disasters), to send several shipments at different times.  In that event, a short individually prepared follow-up letter should accompany each shipment.  (See 7 FAM Exhibit 297.3(a)).

b. When the consular officer is requested to ship the effects of a personal estate in the officer’s possession to the United States, the officer should deliver them to a forwarding company selected by the legal representative or NOK with the assistance of the consular officer.  To facilitate clearance by U.S. Customs, the consular officer must prepare a consular certificate of personal effects to accompany the personal effects, identifying the estate and indicating the number of containers (parcels, boxes) covered by the certification.  (See 7 FAM Exhibit 297.3(b)).

c.  If the entire shipment is covered by a single bill of lading, a certificate attached to the original bill of lading covering the shipment will suffice; otherwise, a certificate should accompany each parcel, box, or case.  Extra copies of a bill of lading can serve as a receipt from the forwarding company.  Attach one copy of the bill of lading to the Final Statement of Account and retain one copy in the estate file at post.

d. If the value of the estate warrants shipment by registered or insured parcel post, or by other safe means covered by receipt, the estate may be shipped in this manner.  The legal representative and NOK must agree with this method of shipment and pay any additional costs that insuring the shipment may incur.  Jewelry and other valuables should be packed separately in an envelope or box and sent by insured parcel post, if possible.

e. In countries where the postal system is unsafe, the estate may be sent to the legal representative by registered pouch through the Department.

f.  If the personal effects are to be shipped somewhere other than the United States, the consular officer may wish to consult a consular officer at a U.S. embassy or consulate in the country of destination regarding any special requirements.

g. A consular officer should not ship, or assist in the shipping, of any archeological, ethnological, or cultural property, as defined in 19 U.S.C. 2601, that the consular officer is aware is part of the personal estate of a United States citizen or non-citizen national to the United States in order to avoid conflict with laws prohibiting or conditioning such export.  (See 22 CFR 72.27(a)).

h. A consular officer may refuse to ship, or assist in the shipping, of any property that is part of the personal estate of a United States citizen or non-citizen national if the consular officer has reason to believe that possession or shipment of the property would be illegal.  (See 22 CFR 72.27(b).)

7 FAM 298  Responsibility in Case of Disagreements

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

a. Responsibility for the resolution of conflicting inheritance claims rests with the contending parties.  Neither the consular officer nor the Department has the authority or responsibility to mediate or determine the validity or order of contending claims.  If multiple claimants demand delivery of the personal estate in the consular officer’s possession, the officer should not deliver the estate to any claimant until an agreement in writing has been reached, the dispute is settled by a court of competent jurisdiction, and/or the Department has approved the release.  (See 22 CFR 72.24.)  The consular officer should encourage the claimants to make all possible efforts to resolve the dispute within one year from the date of the decedent’s death, and inform them that steps will be taken after that time to transfer the estate to CA/OCS/ACS.  Note that the consular officer, in his or her discretion, may postpone the sale for a reasonable amount of time, if that additional time is likely to permit final settlement of the estate.  (See 22 CFR 72.25.)

b. In cases involving a disputed estate, the consular officer must officially notify the claimants in writing that if conflicting claims are not resolved within one year, the entire estate will be transferred to CA/OCS/ACS after all effects except jewelry, heirlooms, and other items of sentimental value have been sold or otherwise disposed of.  The consular officer should establish a fixed date when this will occur and include it in the notice.

7 FAM 299  Disposal of Unclaimed or Unsettled Estates

(CT:CON-898;   08-27-2020)

a. If, after one year from the decedent’s death, no claimant with a legal right to the personal estate comes forward, or if conflicting claims are not resolved, the consular officer shall sell or dispose of the personal estate, except for financial instruments, jewelry, heirlooms and other articles of obvious sentimental value.  The consular officer, in his or her discretion, may postpone the sale for a reasonable amount of time, if that additional time is likely to permit final settlement of the estate.  (See 22 CFR 72.25.)

b. Consular officers should seek the Department’s guidance if uncertain about taking an action in cases where entitlement to an estate is in dispute or regarding disposition of an estate of high value.

c.  The consular officer should take the following actions before transferring the residue of the personal estate to the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (CA/OCS/ACS):

(1)  Sell at auction, or other prescribed manner, for the best possible price all personal effects, including effects not previously taken into physical possession, except jewelry, heirlooms, financial instruments (including bonds, shares of stock and notes of indebtedness), articles of sentimental value, or personal documents (22 U.S.C. 2715c, 22 CFR 72.25);

(2)  Donate to a charitable organization or destroy other effects.  Apparel, luggage and other miscellaneous effects should not be transmitted to the Department;

(3)  If the effects not previously taken into custody include motor vehicles or other similar items, take care to verify whether  title to the property is legally registered in the decedent’s name in order to pass good title to the subsequent purchaser.  We cannot act on behalf of the estate or legal representative to sell items such as motor vehicles.

(4)  Include in the records of the estate sale all documentation that will provide a complete record of transactions, including all sales materials and copies of bills of sales, receipts from charitable organizations, and a list of items destroyed, if any;

(5)  Send personal papers, financial instruments (including bonds, shares of stock, notes of indebtedness, bank books), jewelry, heirlooms and other articles of obvious sentimental value (such as photos and letters), to be held in trust for the legal claimants.  This should include items of value such as money market certificates, deeds, and unredeemed airline tickets, as well as items that would assist in location the NOK such as identification documents, diaries, etc.  Consular officers should note legibly the address of the financial institution on any bank book, certificate of deposit or other item if it does not appear;

(6)  Provide the proceeds from the sale or disposition of the estate to the Class B cashier for transmittal to the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) to the designated trust account.  (See 4 FAH-1 H-252 Deposit Fund Symbols/Clearing Accounts (State); and 4 FAH-3 H-326.2-2 Proceeds From Estates of Deceased American Citizens.  Questions about this should be addressed to the CA/OCS/ACS conservator and/or the Bureau of Consular Affairs Office of the Comptroller (CA/C);

(7)  Annotate the Inventory of Effects to indicate the final disposition of all effects.  The sample format shown in the Inventory of Effects exhibit may be used if desired, or posts may simply make a legible notation of the disposition beside each item on the inventory; and

(8)  Amend the Final Statement of Account, if necessary, to accurately reflect the final disposition of all effects.

d. Transfer of Estate to CA/OCS/ACS:

(1)  CA/OCS/ACS, as the conservator in the United States of unclaimed estates.  (See 22 U.S.C. 2715c(b),) has the same basic concerns as the post: safeguarding the estate, locating the NOK, disposing of the estate, and keeping an accurate record of all transactions.  CA/OCS/ACS has the added concern of exercising certain formal controls over high-value estates.  CA/OCS/ACS holds all unclaimed estates sent to it from overseas for 5 years.  During that time additional attempts are often made to locate the NOK, using various sources, beginning with the papers found among the effects.  It is important that all the decedent’s personal papers be sent to CA/OCS/ACS for review and that the post indicate in a covering memo actions already taken to find the NOK so that efforts will not be duplicated;

(2)  During the time the estate is held, the Department may seek payment of all outstanding debts to the estates as they become due, may receive any balances due on such estate, may endorse all checks, bills of exchange, promissory notes, and other instruments of indebtedness payable to the estate for the benefit thereof, and may take such other action as is reasonably necessary for the conservation of the estate.  (See 22 CFR 72.25.);

(3)  If after five fiscal years beginning on October 1 after the consular officer took possession of the personal estate, CA/OCS/ACS has not located the NOK, title to the personal estate shall be conveyed to the United States, the property in the estate shall be under the custody of the Department and the Department may dispose of the estate as if it were surplus U.S. Government-owned property or by such means as may be appropriate as determined by the Director of CA/OCS/ACS in his/her discretion based on the nature and value of the property involved.  The expenses of sales are to be paid from the estate and any lawful claim received thereafter are to be payable to the extent of the value of the net proceeds of the estate as a refund from the appropriate Treasury appropriation account;

(4)  The net cash estate shall be transferred to the miscellaneous receipts account of the Treasury of the United States; and

(5)  All other items are destroyed;

(6)  Once the personal estate is transferred to CA/OCS/ACS, the ACS country officer must ensure all actions taken with respect to the estate are documented in the ACS System.

e. Accompanying Documents: When the residue of a personal estate is being transmitted to CA/OCS/ACS, the documents listed below should accompany the shipment.  Copies of the documents should also be sent to CA/OCS/ACS in a separate envelope:

(1)  Report of Death on form DS-2060 (see 7 FAM 270);

(2)  Inventory of Effects, annotated to show their disposition, clearly indicating items forwarded to CA/OCS/ACS and their assigned value;

(3)  Final Statement of Account.  This account should accurately record the disposition of all items included in the original inventory.  See 7 FAM Exhibit 299 Sample Final Statement of Account For Unclaimed or Unsettled Estate; and

(4)  Accompanying Memorandum.  The memorandum should list the last known address of the deceased and the source of this information.  It should also describe the efforts the consular officer made to locate and deliver the personal effects to a legal representative or other authorized person.  Copies of any correspondence or other documents that relate to these efforts should be attached to the memorandum sent to CA/OCS/ACS.

f.  Method of Transmission:  General Procedures for All Estates:

(1)  Send all unclaimed estates to CA/OCS/ACS directly by insured mail, if available.  The mailing address for CA/OCS/ACS is:

      CA/OCS/ACS
Conservator
Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management
Department of State
SA-17, 10th  Floor
Washington, D.C.  20522-1710

(2)  An exception can be made to this procedure if the local mail system is deemed unsafe.  In those cases, the estate should be transmitted through registered pouch to CA/OCS/ACS.  Regardless of the method of transmission, a separate set of the accompanying official documents should be sent to CA/OCS/ACS.  These documents are needed for control and record purposes.  Prior to sealing the estate parcels, consular officers should make a final check of the inventory to ensure that it accurately reflects the contents.

g. CA/OCS/ACS Action:  The CA/OCS/ACS Country Officer will:

(1)  Open the package in the presence of the CA/OCS/ACS Civil Service conservator of unsettled estates;

(2)  Compare the inventory to the contents of the package;

(3)  Prepare a memo to the files signed by the CA/OCS/ACS geographic division country officer and the CA/OCS/ACS conservator of unsettled estates;

(4)  Notify the CA/OCS/ACS Division Chief of any discrepancy;

(5)  Contact post to try to resolve any discrepancy;

(6)  Review documentation to ensure that it reflects post efforts to locate NOK.  This information should be in the ACS case tracking system and copies of correspondence, including email should be scanned into the ACS system record;

(7)  Review passport records and LEXIS records again for possible contact for NOK;

(8)  Request CA/OCS/MSU (FedBen@state.gov) inquire whether agencies paying federal benefits have records that include any contact information for NOK;

(9)  Record result of further searches in ACS system record; and

(10) Retain case for five years in CA/OCS/ACS conservator's file or a safe as necessary.

h. Claims for Lost, Stolen or Destroyed Personal Estates:  Posts should refer questions about claims for lost, stolen, or destroyed personal estates to CA/OCS/L (ASK-OCS-L@state.gov).  (22 U.S.C. 2715c, 22 CFR 72.28.)

7 FAM Exhibit 291(e)  
Sample Receipt of Transfer of
Accountability from One Consular
Officer to Another

(CT:CON-336;   06-23-2010)

This receipt should be prepared and disposed of as follows:  The signed original must be placed in the estate file at the post; a copy must be scanned and attached to the ACS system case file; the departing officer should retain a copy.

Receipt – Transfer of Accountability from One Consular Officer to Another

 

Name of Post

City, Country

Date

Received from ______________________________________

________________________________________________________

(Name and Title of departing consular officer)

as provisional conservator, the personal estate

held at the _________________________________________

                                                        (Name of Post)

and covered by inventory dated ___________,_____________

                                                                        (date)

of ________________________________________________

                (Name of Decedent)

a U.S. citizen who died on _____________________________

                                                        (date of death)

at  _______________________________________________

                                        (Place of Death)

The cash balance due the estate as of today’s date in the amount of U.S. dollars ________________

             (Amount)                                                      

is deposited in Suspense Account No. ________________________

____________________________________________________________

(Name of the account and number if any where funds have been deposited)

(Consult with Financial Management Officer for this information if not in estate file.)

                                                _____________________

                                                Signature of succeeding consular officer

                                                _____________________

                                        Typed Name of succeeding consular officer

                                                _____________________

                                                Title of succeeding consular officer

(SEAL)

7 FAM Exhibit 291(g)  
Sample of a Personal Estate Action Summary

(CT:CON-336;   06-23-2010)

ACTION SUMMARY:  PERSONAL ESTATE

1. Name of decedent:  _______________________________

2. Date of Death:  ___________________________________

3. Date Personal Effects Taken Into Possession:  ___________

4. Location Where Personal Effects Found:  ________________

______________________________________________________

                (address, person or organization)

5. Date Effects Inventoried:  ___________________________

6. Date Inventory provided to CA/OCS/ACS:  ______________

7. Date Inventory provided to Next of Kin/Legal Representative:

_____________________________________________________

(insert date and name of person to whom inventory sent and relationship to decedent)

8. Date Proof of Legal Entitlement Received:  _______________

____________________________________________________________

(insert date and document received (Letters Testamentary/Letters of Administration/Affidavit of Surviving Spouse or Next of Kin and person from whom received)

9. Payment of Bills

Received From

Amount

Payment

Balance Due

Hotel

$120.00

Paid from cash found among effects

0

Hospital

N/A

 

0

Shipment of Personal Effects

$5,000

Paid from cash found among effects

0

Other

 

 

0

10.    Department requested to release balance of trust

__________________________ on ______________

(Account no. and amount)                     (date)

11.    Date Final Statement of Account provided to CA/OCS/ACS:  ____________________.

(date)

12.    Date Final Statement of Account provided to ___________________________________________________

(insert name of next of kin or legal representative and date Final Statement of Account sent.)

13.    Date Check for balance of currency found with effects, sale of effects of funds submitted directly by next of kin or legal representative:

__________________________________________________________

(insert date, amount, tracking numbers and name of person to whom check was payable)

14.    Disposition of Residue of personal estate not requested by next of kin or legal representative:  ______________________________

_____________________________________________________________

15.    Transmittal of Documents, Heirlooms of Unclaimed or Unsettled Estate to CA/OCS/ACS:  ___________________________________

(Date, description and tracking numbers)

7 FAM Exhibit 294.2  
Sample of Receipt Transfer of Custody of Personal Estate from Host Country Official to Consular Officer

(CT:CON-336;   06-23-2010)

RECEIPT TRANSFER OF CUSTODY OF PERSONAL ESTATE FROM HOST COUNTRY OFFICIAL TO CONSULAR OFFICERIACTION SUMMARY:  PERSONAL ESTATE

City

Country

 

Date

 

Today I received from _____________________________________

                                (Name and Title of Host Country Official)

in ________________________________________________

        (city, state/province, Country)

the personal estate, held in the __________________________

                                                (location)

and the attached list of effects, dated _____________,

                                                                (date)

of, _______________________________________________,

                (Name of Decedent)

a United States citizen who died on ______________________

                                                                (date)

at __________________________________________________

                        (city, country)

 

________________________

Signature of Consular Officer

Typed Name of Consular Officer

Title of Consular Officer

 

SEAL

 

DISCHARGE STATEMENT TRANSFER OF CUSTODY OF PERSONAL ESTATE FROM CONSULAR OFFICER TO NEXT OF KIN OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE PRESENT IN COUNTRY AT TIME OF DEATH

Venue.

Post                  )

Country             )

City                   )

I, ____________________________________hereby release

        (name of next of kin or legal representative)

__________________________________from any responsibility

(Name and Title of Consular Officer)

For the person estate of the late __________________________

                                                        (Name of the decedent)

Received on ____________ from _________________________

                        (date)                (Name and Title of Host Country Official)

 

____________________________

(Signature of Affiant)

___________________________

(Typed Name of Affiant)

________________________

(Relationship to Decedent)

I certify that on this day the individual indentified as the affiant appeared before me and, being duly sworn, made the statement above.

________________________________

(Signature of Consular Officer)

(Typed Name of Consular Officer)

(Title of Consular Officer)

(Date)

(SEAL)

7 FAM Exhibit 295.1  
Sample Inventory of Effects

(CT:CON-336;   06-23-2010)

American Embassy at (City, Country)
Inventory of Effects
Estate of (Name)
Date of Death  (Date)

CONVERTIBLE ASSETS
(In U.S. Dollars Subject to Exchange Rate at Time of Transaction)

Quantity

Description

Value

750

Euros

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LUGGAGE

1

Blue cloth suitcase

$10.00

1

Blue “Insight” carry-on

$15.00

WEARING APPAREL

1

Beige “Mountain Goat” ski jacket

$15.00

1

Long sleeve sweater; brown, green, red

nil

3

Miscellaneous clothing

nil

MISCELLANEOUS PERSONAL EFFECTS

1

Black vinyl toilet kit with misc. contents

nil

1

Blue “Jacques Bloumel” wallet with identification cards and photographs

nil

 

Other miscellaneous effects of no local value

nil

JEWELRY AND ARTICLES OF SENTIMENTAL VALUE

1

“Seiko” quartz wristwatch, yellow-colored band

$15.00

1

Yellow-colored wedding band marked “10-K)

$5.00

1

Diary

nil

NON NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENTS

1

American Express Card (Number)

nil

1

Treasury check (number) for VA benefits payable to (name)(date) (Returned to Treasury disbursing office)

$395.00

8

Thomas Cook Traveler’s Checks (numbers)

$160.00

TOTAL

$

CERTIFICATION

We have examined the above listed articles and we believe that the value placed after each article is a fair valuation, made to the best of our ability, based on their local market value.

(DATE)

SIGNATURE

TYPED NAME

TITLE

(DATE)

SIGNATURE

TYPED NAME

TITLE

7 FAM Exhibit 295.3  
Sample Letter to Accompany Inventory of Effects

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

(Post Letterhead)

                                                                        Date

Name
Address
City, State  Zip Code

 

Dear Mr. (Name):

        We wish to express our deepest sympathy in the loss of your (relationship) and offer our assistance at this sad time.

(If applicable)  We have completed the Consular Report of Death Abroad for your (relationship) and are enclosing (number) copies for your use.  The original is being forwarded to the Department of State in Washington, D.C.  If you need additional copies, you may obtain them from:

 

The U.S. Department of State

Record Services Division

CA/PPT/S/TO/RS

44132 Mercure Circle [DHL/FedEx/UPS]
P.O. Box 1213 [USPS]

Sterling, VA 20166-1213

Telephone (public): 202-485-8300

 

Each additional copy is $50.

 

(See also Request a Copy of a Consular Report of Death Abroad)

        Enclosed, in duplicate, is the inventory of your (relationship’s) effects which we have taken into custody for safekeeping.  Whenever consular officers take possession of personal effects of deceased U.S. citizens, the officers are required by U.S. law, before releasing the effect, to satisfy themselves as to the right of persons claiming such effects to receive them.  Satisfactory evidence of a person’s entitlement to the personal effects is normally supplied in the form of Letters Testamentary if the deceased left no will.

        Based on our inventory of your (relationship’s) effects, we believe that an affidavit executed by you will be sufficient evidence of your right to receive her effects.  A blank affidavit form is enclosed for your use.  You may wish to consult a private attorney before signing this affidavit.  As soon as we receive your completed affidavit we will send you the effects you desire.

        When returning the affidavit, please provide instructions for the disposition of your (relationship’s) effects in our possession.  You may prefer to simply return on of the copies of the inventory of effects, designating those items you wish to receive and adding instructions for the remaining items.  Many relatives of deceased U.S. citizens find transportation expenses prohibitive and choose to donate clothing, luggage and other items to charitable organizations.

        Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.  (Insert contact information),or you may contact our Office of American Citizens Services in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747.

        Again, we would like to express our condolences and assure you of our desire to help you in any way we can. 

 

                                                Sincerely,

                                                Signature

                                                Typed Name

                                                Title

 

7 FAM Exhibit 296.3  
Sample Final Statement of Account

(CT:CON-336;   06-23-2010)

U.S. (Embassy/Consulate) (City, Country)

FINAL STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT
ESTATE OF (Name of Decedent)
Date of Death:  (Date)

Description

Receipts (Value in U.S. $)

Disbursements (Value in U.S. $)

750 Euros found with effects

(at current exchange rate) $948.82

 

U.S. currency found with effects

2.07

 

Inventory of value of non-negotiable instruments

3,855.00

 

Received from (name), address, city, state via OCS Trust account (number) for disposition of remains

6,000.00

 

Money order sent directly to post from (name) for payment of hotel and hospital bills

439.00

 

Exchange rate $1.00 equals (amount) (Date)

TOTAL

(Amount)

SEAL

Signature
Typed Name
Title

Description

Receipts (Value in U.S. $)

Disbursements (Value in U.S. $)

Hotel Ritz Bill

 

89.00

Inventory of value of effect shipped to (Name), address, City, State  Zip Code on (date)

 

200.00

Expenses in connection with disposition of remains

 

6,000.00

Cost of shipping personal effect to (name)

 

49.00

Inventory value of effects donated to American Relief Organization (authorized by (name) per letter dated (date)

 

40.00

Inventory value of nonnegotiable instruments sent to (name) on (date) via (method)

 

3,855.00

Cost of mailing nonnegotiable instruments

 

6.00

Unused portion of trust account (number) to be refunded to (name) through Department of State

 

500.00

Balance due estate of (name) (Treasury check (number) payable to (name)

 

7,446.07

TOTAL OF COLUMNS

 

 

Signature
Typed Name
Title
Date

SEAL

 

SIG

7 FAM Exhibit 297.3(a)  
Sample Letter to Accompany Shipment of Personal Effects of Decedent's Estate

(CT:CON-644;   03-07-2016)

(Post Letterhead)

 

                                                                        Date

Name
Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Mr/Ms.  (Name):

        In accordance with your instructions regarding shipment of the personal belongings of your (relationship), (Name of Decedent), I am sending you his belongings. Please again accept my personal sympathy and the condolences of this (Embassy/Consulate) in your time of bereavement.

        If I can be of any assistance regarding your (relationship’s) personal estate in (country), please do not hesitate to contact me.  (insert contact information).  You may also get help from our Office of American Citizen Services in Washington D.C. at 1-888-407-4747.

                                                Sincerely,

                                                Signature
                                                Typed Name
                                                Title

7 FAM Exhibit 297.3(b)  
Sample Certificate of Personal Effects

(CT:CON-336;   06-23-2010)

Certificate of Personal Effects

Venue.
Country
State, Province
Post

 

I (Name), (Title) of the United States of America in and for the consular district of (city, country), place), duly commissioned and qualified, hereby certify that this shipment, consisting of (number) (parcels, boxes, cases), covered by Bill of Lading Number (number) contains only the personal effects of (Name of Decedent), a citizen of the United States of America who died on (date of death) at (Place, Hospital, etc.).

 

 

Signature
Typed Name
Title
Date

(SEAL)

 

U.S. Embassy or Country

City, Country

Inventory of Effects
Estate of (Name of Deceased)
Date of Death:  (Date)

Quantity

Description

Value in U.S. Dollars

Disposition  (check)

 

 

 

To OCS

Sold

Charity

Destroyed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

CERTIFICATION:  We have examined the above listed articles and we believe that the value placed after each article is a fair valuation, made to the best of our ability, based on their local market value.

 

Signature

Typed Name

Title

Date

 

Signature

Typed Name

Title

Date

7 FAM Exhibit 299  
Sample Final Statement of Account for Unclaimed or Unsettled Estate

(CT:CON-335;   06-09-2010)

U.S. Embassy/Consulate

City, Country

Inventory of Effects
Estate of (Name of Deceased)
Date of Death:  (Date)

Quantity

Description

Value in U.S. Dollars

Disposition  (check)

 

 

 

To OCS

Sold

Charity

Destroyed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

CERTIFICATION:  We have examined the above listed articles and we believe that the value placed after each article is a fair valuation, made to the best of our ability, based on their local market value.

 

Signature

Typed Name

Title

Date

 

Signature

Typed Name

Title

Date

 

 

UNCLASSIFIED (U)