10 USC 4712 - Disposition of effects of deceased persons by summary court-martial

(a) Upon the death of
(1) a person subject to military law at a place or command under the jurisdiction of the Army; or
(2) a resident of the Armed Forces Retirement Home who dies in an Army hospital outside the District of Columbia when sent from the Home to that hospital for treatment;

the commanding officer of the place or command shall permit the legal representative or the surviving spouse of the deceased, if present, to take possession of the effects of the deceased that are then in camp or quarters.

(b) If there is no legal representative or surviving spouse present, the commanding officer shall direct a summary court-martial to collect the effects of the deceased that are then in camp or quarters.

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(c) The summary court-martial may collect debts due the decedents estate by local debtors, pay undisputed local creditors of the deceased to the extent permitted by money of the deceased in the courts possession, and shall take receipts for those payments, to be filed with the courts final report to the Department of the Army.
(d) As soon as practicable after the collection of the effects and money of the deceased, the summary court-martial shall send them at the expense of the United States to the living person highest on the following list who can be found by the court:
(1) The surviving spouse or legal representative.
(2) A child of the deceased.
(3) A parent of the deceased.
(4) A brother or sister of the deceased.
(5) The next-of-kin of the deceased.
(6) A beneficiary named in the will of the deceased.
(e) If the summary court-martial cannot dispose of the effects under subsection (d) because there are no persons in those categories or because the court finds that the addresses of the persons are not known or readily ascertainable, the court may convert the effects of the deceased, except sabres, insignia, decorations, medals, watches, trinkets, manuscripts, and other articles valuable chiefly as keepsakes, into cash, by public or private sale, but not until 30 days after the date of death of the deceased.
(f) As soon as practicable after the effects have been converted into cash under subsection (e), the summary court-martial shall deposit all cash in the courts possession and belonging to the estate with the officer designated in regulations, and shall send a receipt therefor, together with any will or other papers of value, an inventory of the effects, and articles not permitted to be sold, to the executive part of the Department of the Army. The Secretary of the Army shall deliver to the Armed Forces Retirement Home all items received by the executive part of the Department of the Army under this subsection.