Decedent was a veteran who suffered a hip fracture and a cerebral hemorrhage, rendering him unconscious. He was taken to a Veterans' Administration hospital where he died eighteen days later. From the time he was stricken until his death, he was unconscious, or at most semiconscious. Decedent left an estate consisting of approximately $13,000 in cash which had been inherited from a brother. The United States submitted a claim against his estate under the provisions of a federal act since the death had occurred in a veterans' facility at a time when the decedent was intestate and without heirs or next of kin. Oregon contested this claim, reasoning that the federal act required a binding agreement between the decedent and the Veterans' Administration, and that no such contract could have been made because the decedent was at all material times mentally incompetent. Oregon therefore contended that the estate escheated to the state under the provisions of their escheat statute. Held: the property vested immediately in the United States regardless whether a valid contract had been formed. The United States Supreme Court stated that the devolution of property is an area normally left to the states, but one not immune under the tenth amendment from laws passed by the federal government which are necessary and proper in the exercise of the delegated power to raise and support armies and navies and to conduct wars.
Constitutional Law—Federal Control of Escheat as a Necessary War Power—United States v. Oregon (Sup. Ct. 1961),
41 Neb. L. Rev. 623
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