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HART v. UNITED STATES

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT THIRD DISTRICT NEW JERSEY


June 30, 1949

HART
v.
UNITED STATES (HART et al., third-party defendants)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: SMITH

This is a civil action on a policy of insurance on the life of one Cameron M. Hart, deceased, issued pursuant to the National Service Life Insurance Act of 1940, as amended, 38 U.S.C.A. ยง 801 et seq., Liability on the policy of insurance is admitted by the United States of America, and the present controversy is between the plaintiff Helen F. Hart, the widow of the decedent, and the defendant Josiah F. Hart, the father of the decedent, each of whom asserts a claim as the sole beneficiary.

Findings of Fact.

 I. Pursuant to the provisions of the Act, and on the application of the decedent, a policy of insurance on the life of the decedent was issued and became effective on September 1, 1942. The defendant was designated therein as the beneficiary, and Margaret C. Hart, the mother of the decedent, was designated therein as the contingent beneficiary.

 II. The decedent completed his preliminary training and entered upon active duty as an officer on May 28, 1943, when he was commissioned at Craig Field, Selma, Alabama. The plaintiff and decedent were married on the following day, May 29, 1943.

  III. It appears from the undisputed testimony that on May 27th or 28th, 1943, and immediately prior thereto, the decedent informed one Robert D. Hays of his intention to change the beneficiary of the insurance. It further appears from the undisputed testimony that on May 28, 1943 the decedent informed the plaintiff that 'he had changed the beneficiary on his insurance.' The pertinent testimony of these witnesses is quoted in the appendix hereto annexed.

 IV. The decedent, while in military service, executed the following documents:

 (a) An Authorization for Allotment of Pay, dated May 28, 1943, which authorized payment of $ 6.60 per month to the Director of Insurance to cover the payment of premiums. This is the only document bearing the said date that has been offered in evidence. It appears from the testimony of Robert D. Hays that other documents were executed by the officers on the said date. (b) An Officer's Personal Questionnaire, dated March 18, 1944. This document contains, in addition to other information, the following pertinent reference to life insurance: "National Life Insurance (Service) 10,000 5 Yr. Term -- Helen F. Hart Amount Type Name of Beneficiary 1,000 20 Pay Helen F. Hart Civilian Life Insurance Amount Type Name of Beneficiary"

19490630

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