TN 15 (12-14)
GN 02315.048 Guam Small Estates
A. Policy for Guam small estates
1. Requirements for payment
Section 3101 of the Guam Estates and Probate Code, 15 GUAM CODE ANN. §3101 (2014), delineates the circumstances in which an underpayment may be collected from SSA by use of an affidavit. The section provides:
“When a decedent leaves no real property in the territory of Guam, and the total value of the decedent’s property in the territory, does not exceed $20,000, the following individuals may, without obtaining letters testamentary, letters of administration and without awaiting administration of the estate (whether the decedent died with or without a will), collect any money due to the decedent, receive the property of the decedent, and have any evidences of interest, indebtedness or right transferred to such person or persons upon furnishing an affidavit showing the right or the person or persons to receive the money or property, or to have such evidences transferred to:
the surviving spouse,
lawful issue of deceased children,
brothers or sisters of the decedent,
lawful issue of a deceased brother or sister,
guardian of the estate of any minor or incompetent person who bears any such relationship to the decedent, or
the trustee named in the decedent’s trust, the primary beneficiaries of which bear any such relationship to the decedent, provided that such person(s) have the right to succeed to the decedent’s property or constitute the sole beneficiary(ies) under the decedent’s will.
“Total value of the decedent’s property” excludes all property outside of the territory, the value of any motor vehicle legally owned by the decedent amounts due the decedent for services in the armed forces of the United States, any salary owed the decedent not exceeding $3,000 including compensation for unused vacation, and property held as a joint tenant or pursuant to a life estate.” See 15 GUAM CODE ANN. §§ 3101 & 3107 (2014).
2. Contents of affidavit
The contents of the affidavit are:
The date of the decedent’s death;
The qualifying relationship to the decedent;
The decedent did not leave any real property in the territory;
The total value of the decedent’s property in the territory, as defined in 15 GUAM CODE ANN. §§3101 and 3107 (2014), does not exceed $20,000; and
The affiant(s) has or have the right to succeed to the decedent’s property or constitute the sole beneficiary(ies) under the decedent’s will. 15 GUAM CODE ANN. §3101 (2014).
3. Guam good acquittance
15 GUAM CODE ANN. §3105 (2014) provides that the receipt of the affiant(s) constitutes sufficient acquittance for the payment of money pursuant to an affidavit that complies with 15 GUAM CODE ANN. §3101 (2014), and fully discharges the payor without the necessity of inquiring into the truth of any facts stated in the affidavit. Thus, if the above requirements are satisfied, the affiant qualifies as the legal representative of the decedent’s estate for purposes of an underpayment. The receipt of the affiant(s) will discharge SSA from further liability and give SSA good acquittance for the underpayment. SSA, in good faith, may rely on the statements in the affidavit and has no duty to inquire into the truth of any statement therein. (NOTE: SSA should obtain a written receipt signed by the affiant in addition to the original affidavit.)
B. Procedure for Guam questionable small estate cases
Direct any questions regarding the payment of an underpayment not clearly covered by the above through channels to the Regional Chief Counsel, Region IX.