TN 17 (02-93)
GN 02215.070 Estate Closed or Will Not be Administered
An administrator or legal representative of an estate who has been notified of a deceased person's overpayment and closes the estate after disbursing estate funds for other debts but does not repay the overpayment is liable for the amount due.
The administrator or legal representative is only liable to the extent of the estate.
EXAMPLE:A deceased debtor overpaid $12,000 left a $10,000 estate. After payment of the decedent's priority debts (GN 02215.055), $5,000 remains in the estate. The executor (despite prior notification) closes the estate without paying the government's claim. The executor is personally liable for repayment of $5,000.
Where the assets of a debtor's estate have been distributed, SSA may also proceed against the distributee(s) of the estate.
To find a distributee liable, he/she must have either the proceeds of the estate or property attributable to such proceeds in his/her possession when notified of the overpayment.
The liability of each distributee is proportionate to the share received.
EXAMPLE:Three distributees received $650 each from the estate of a decedent who was overpaid $600. Each is liable for $200.
B. Operating Procedure
Notify the legal representative (or distributees) where appropriate, of his/ her liability for repayment and the need to refund.
If there is no administrator and funds cannot be traced to distributees or there are no assets, terminate collection efforts (TC 71 - GN 02215.235) unless adjustment can be proposed against benefits due other persons who were in a different household at the time of overpayment (GN 02210.015C.2.).
REMINDER: All debts over $100,000 must be referred to DOJ for a suspension or termination decision (GN 02215.235B.)