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Civil Resource Manual

79. Decedent's Estate

The United States may hold itself aloof from state court proceedings, and simply give the executor or administrator notice of its claim and its priority under 31 U.S.C. § 3713. The fiduciary will be bound to see that the rights of the United States are fully protected. See Viles v. CIR, 233 F.2d 376, 380 (6th Cir. 1956). Failure of the fiduciary to protect the rights of the United States will result in his own personal liability to the United States. See 31 U.S.C. § 3713; cf. King v. United States, 379 U.S. 329 (1964).

In most instances, however, the claim of the United States is filed directly in the probate or administration proceeding. In that event, the government, having submitted to the jurisdiction of the court, will be bound by the court's eventual decision as to the government's claim. See United States v. Pate, 47 F. Supp. 965 (W.D. Ark. 1942); United States v. Muntzing, 69 F. Supp. 503 (N.D. W.Va. 1946). While state statutes limiting the time within which creditors may file claims do not apply to the United States, United States v. Summerlin, 310 U.S. 414 (1940), it is always wise to present a timely claim if possible.

[cited in JM 4-4.450]