The term “legal representative” of the deceased means the executor or administrator of his estate, and includes an
individual who qualifies under a “small estate” statute (i.e., one which does not require formal probate proceedings) of the State
in which the beneficiary was domiciled at the time of his death. If an individual
claims the underpayment as legal representative under a small estate statute, see
GN 02315.001. If the claimant qualifies under these procedures, include a statement to this effect
when the claim is forwarded to the carrier. Questions concerning the small estate
laws and other questions relating to the appointment and authority of a legal representative
should be referred to the regional attorney in accordance with GN 02315.025.
If it is expected that a legal representative will be appointed within a few days,
development may be deferred. However, when there may be an indefinite delay in appointment,
the claim may be filed by a surviving relative of the deceased based on the priority
listing in GN 02335.025.A.2.