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LICZNERSKI v. UNITED STATES

August 11, 1949

LICZNERSKI et al.
v.
UNITED STATES et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCGRANERY

This suit was brought under 38 U.S.C.A. § 817, as amended, raising the issue of the proper disposal of the proceeds of a veteran's National Service Life Insurance Policy. Two opinions of a preliminary nature have already been filed in this case: D.C. Feb. 1, 1949, 81 F.Supp. 837 and D.C. March 11, 1949, 83 F.Supp. 453. Now the parties have stipulated that the controversy may be decided by the Court as a 'case stated', with the right reserved to each of the parties to appeal, upon facts as follows:

1. This is an action brought under Title 38 U.S.C.A. § 817, as amended, by Fannie J. Licznerski, mother and natural guardian of Arlene Janet Licznerski, her daughter, a minor and Fannie J. Licznerski, in her own right, against the United States of America to recover the proceeds of a National Service Life Insurance Policy which the Veterans Administration, on December 9, 1947 decided to pay to Helen Rickards.

 2. Fannie J. Licznerski is the widow of John W. Licznerski, Jr., hereinafter called the insured.

 3. Arlene Janet Licznerski, a minor, is the only child of the insured and said Fannie J. Licznerski.

 4. Helen Rickards is the mother of the insured.

 5. The insured enlisted in the Army of the United States on January 22, 1943 and was honorably discharged therefrom for medical reasons on October 3, 1943. During this time a National Service Life Insurance Policy No. N-8,408,723 in the amount of $ 10,000.00 was issued to him.

 6. The insured originally designated his wife as beneficiary of the policy and his daughter as contingent beneficiary. On March 30, 1944, while he was living with his mother, the insured executed a change of beneficiary in which he designated his mother and his child as beneficiaries in equal shares, and his child as contingent beneficiary. On May 29, 1944 he executed another change of beneficiary in which he designated his mother as beneficiary and his child as contingent beneficiary.

 8. Thereupon a dispute arose between his mother and his widow with respect to his burial, as a result of which a bill in equity was filed in the Court of Common Pleas No. 5 of Philadelphia County, to June Term, 1944, No. 1890. In accordance with a stipulation entered into therein, the mother executed a writing, prepared by her attorney, as follows:

 'Know All Men By These Presents, that I, Helen Licznerski, also known as Helen Rickards, do hereby release, remise, assign and set over all my right, title and interest in and to a certain war risk policy of insurance wherein my son John W. Licznerski is the insured, and since about April 18, 1944, I have been named as beneficiary, being Policy No. 8408723, unto my granddaughter, Arlene Janet Licznerski, also the daughter of the said John W. Licznerski, or to her duly appointed guardian.

 'This assignment of my interest in the said policy unto my said granddaughter aforesaid is in accordance with stipulation entered in the Court of Common Pleas No. 5 on a certain Bill in Equity which was heard on July 14, 1944, before the Honorable Vicent A. Carroll; and I do hereby further agree to sign any and all additional papers that may be required to effectuate this assignment in law, or that the Veterans Administration or the particular governmental agency in charge of the said policy of insurance may require.

 'In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this fourteenth (14th) day of July, A.D. 1944.

 'Witnessed by:

 Charles F. ...


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