The Bayonet, 10 May 1918
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THE BAYONET: CAMP LEE, VA., FRIDAY, MAY 10, 1918 NINE his dependents by way of compensation or by way of insurance are absolutely independent of each other. The fact that a man receives insurance will not in any degree diminish the proper compensation due him. Neither can the fact that he has endeavored on his own part to provide against the future for himself and dependents by purchasing government insurance result in any stoppage or diminuition of any portion of his proper compensation. The soldier should appreciate that it is not only his duty, but that it is also his privilege to take the fullest advantage of the provisions of this law, and, if he does, he can rest secure in the belief that no matter what happens both he and his dependents will always be provided for, and comfortably provided for, in the future. Section VII. SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' CIVIL RELIEF ACT. BY MAJOR C. V. CHURCH, Assistant Judge Advocate. Q. & A. 1. Purpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2. Persons protected . . . . . . . . . . 2 3. Manner of protection . . . . . . . 3 4. Scope: (a) Miscellaneous claims . . . . 4 (b) Rent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 (c) Taxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 (d) Insurance premiums . . . . . 7 (c) Indorsers, sureties, etc . . 22 (f) Crimes and offenses . . . . . 23 5. Date of obligation . . . . . . . . . . 8 6. Time of relief: (a) Before suit has begun . . 9 (b) After suit has begun . . . 11 (c) After judgment . . . . . . . . . . 13 7. Procedure . . . . . . . . . 10, 12, 14 19-20 8. Discretion of the court . . . . . 15 9. Character of relief . . . . . . . . . . 16 10. Courts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 11. Penalty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 12. Statute of limitations . . . . . . . 21 1.-Q. What is this act? A. It is an act of Congress approved March 8, 1918, for the protection of person in the military service in relation to claims, demands, suits and other civil proceedings against such persons. 2.-Q. What persons are protected by it? A. All officers and enlisted men in the military or naval service of the United States, including members of the nurse corps, field clerks, civilian clerks on duty with military forces abroad, and all other persons in the active military or naval services of the United States. 3.-Q. How does this law give protection? A. By postponing, staying or suspending claims, demands, suits and other civil proceedings against them. 4.-Q. What sort of claims or demands may be suspended? A. Simple debts, money due on promissory notes, on mortgages, on deeds of trust, on installment contracts and all obligations generally. 5.-Q. Is house rent included in this law? A. Yes. Rent of premises to the extent of $50 a month occupied chiefly for dwelling purposes by the wife, children or other dependents of soldiers, is covered by this act. 6.-Q. Are taxes affected by it? A. Yes. All taxes and assessments on property owned or occupied for dwelling or business purposes by a person in the military service, and falling due while they are in the service, are affected by the act. 7.-Q. Are insurance premiums covered by the law? A. Yes. Premiums on certain life insurance policies and dues arising out of membership in fraternal or beneficial associations, are protected by the law. 8.-Q. To be protected by this law, when must the obligations be incurred? A. As to insurance contracts, mortgages, deeds of trust, etc., the law suspends the enforcement of such obligations if incurred prior to the passage of the act. As to other claims, demands and suits generally, the law protects the soldier when the obligations are incurred at any time. 9.-Q. May this law be invoked by a soldier before a law suit has been begun against him. A. Yes. No eviction or distress proceedings may be instituted against premises occupied by a soldier's family when the agreed rent does not exceed $50 per month, except upon the special authority of the court. 10.-Q. How may this law be invoked before such suit is begun? A. (1) By notifying the landlord or other person threatening such suit of the fact that the tenant is in the military service, and calling attention to this law; and (2) by applying to the court on behalf of the solider, asking that any such proceedings be stayed or prevented. 11.-Q. May the law be invoked after a law suit has been begun? A. Yes. 12.-Q. How? A. By notifying the court that the defendant is in the military service, and asking that the suit be suspended during his service therein. 13.-Q. May the law be used after a judgment or decree has been rendered against a soldier? A. Yes. 14.-Q. How? A. By giving the same notice to the court as stated in the answer to the preceding question. The court may thereupon vacate the judgment or decree, or it may stay the execution or other proceedings on the judgment or decree. 15.-Q. When it has been shown that the debtor or defendant is in the military service, is the court bound to suspend the proceedings or stay the execution? A. No. The matter is left with the discretion of the court. If it should appear that a soldier is well able to meet his obligations, or for any other reason he should not be protected by this law, the court may refuse to suspend or postpone the proceedings against him. It is not the intention of the law to enable soldiers with independent means, to avoid paying their debts or meeting their obligations merely because they are in the military service. 16.-Q. Do the provisions of this law cancel or wipe out a debt claim or other obligation against a soldier? A. No. The law merely authorizes the suspension of any suit or other proceedings against a soldier. 17.-Q. Do the provisions of this law apply to State courts or to Federal courts? A. The provisions of this law apply to all United States courts, all State and Territorial courts and all other civil courts in the country. 18.-Q. Is there any penalty for the violation of this law? A. Yes. If any person shall institute eviction proceedings for the possession of rented property, or shall institute proceedings for the possession of property that is being bought under and installment contract, or shall institute any other suit or action, with knowledge that the defendant is in the military service, contrary to the provisions of this act, he may be punished by imprisonment not to exceed one year, or by fine not to exceed $1,000, or both. 19.-Q. What should a soldier do who is threatened with a suit, eviction, execution, foreclosure or other proceedings against him or his property. A. He may take action to protect his rights under this law as explained above; or he may apply to the office of the division judge-advocate for advice and assistance. Such consultation is treated confidentially. 20.-Q. What should a soldier do if his insurance premium comes due? A. He should apply to the War Risk Insurance Bureau, which has authority to send the proper notice to the insurance company of the fact that he is in the military service. 21.-Q. Suppose a soldier has a claim or demand or other cause of action against another, does this law affect the running of the statute or limitation against his claim or cause of action? A. Yes. This law suspends the running of the statute of limitation against his claim or cause of action? A. Yes. This law suspends the running of the statute of limitations against him by providing that the period of his military service shall not be included in computing the period of limitation for the bringing of any action by or against any person in the military service, whether such cause of action accrued before or during his military service. 22.-Q. Suppose another person has indorsed the promissory note of a soldier, does this law protect that other person? A. Yes. The law affords the same protection to an accommodation indorser, a guarantor, or a surety of any person in the military service, as it affords such soldier himself. 23.-Q. Does this law apply to criminal actions against soldiers? A. No. This law applies to claims, demands, suits or actions of a civil nature only. It does not protect soldiers in the commission of any felony, crime, misdemeanor, or for the violation of any city ordinance or police regulation. The sole purpose of the law is to protect persons in the military service, to prevent prejudice by injury to their civil rights during their term of service, and to enable them to devote their entire energy to the military needs of the nation. Section VIII. WILLS. BY MAJOR C. V. CHURCH, Assistant Judge Advocate. Q. & A. 1. Definition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2. Who may make a will . . . . . . . . 2 3. Legal terms . . . . . . . 3-4, 23; 28 32-33 4. Property that may be disposed of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5; 12 5. Freedom in disposing of property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-8; 34 6. Failure to make a will: (a) In general . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 (b) Soldiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-11 7. Advantage in making a will . . .13 8. Time a will takes effect . . . . . . 14 9. Form: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 (a) In writing . . . . . . . . . . . 15-16 (b) Signature . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 (c) Witnesses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17-21 10. Disposition of will: (a) Before death . . . . . . . . . 22 (b) After death . . . . . . . . . . 31 11. Revocation or cancellation of will . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24-30 12. Duties of executor . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 13. Preparation of will . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Wills. 1.-Q. What is a will? A. A will is a statement in writing, duly signed and witnessed, declaring how the property of the maker of the will is to be disposed of after his death. 2.-Q. Who may make a will? A. Any man of sound mind over the age of 21 years, and any woman of sound mind over the age of 18 years. 3.-Q. What is the maker of a will called? A. He is called the testator. 4.-Q. What is the person called who is to receive property by a will? A. In general, such person is called the beneficiary. 5.-Q. What property may be disposed of by a will? A. All property that the testator may own at the time of his death, viz: lands, buildings, money, stocks, bonds, debts due him, and every other kind of property that he may own or in which he may have any interest. 6.-Q. May a person dispose of his property in any way he desires by will? A. Yes. He may give it all to one person; he may give parts of it to different people separately; or he may give it all to several people jointly. 7.-Q. May he cut off his relatives entirely in his will, and leave property to some outsider? A. Yes. He may leave it to any individual or institution that he may desire; except that a widow is entitled to a certain share of her deceased husband's estate; and he may not deprive his widow of the share of his estate to which the law entitles her. 8.-Q. Suppose a testator makes no provision in his will for his widow, will that make the will void? A. No. If he makes no provision for his widow and if she has not done anything to forfeit her share, the law will give her her share; and the remainder of the estate will be disposed of according to the will. 9.-Q. If a person dies without making a will, what becomes of his property? A. The property will then go to his widow and his nearest relatives. If he leaves no widow, it will all go to his relatives. His real estate will go according to the law of the State in which it is located. His personal property (money, stocks, bonds, notes, etc.), will go according to the law of the State where he resides and calls his home. 10.-Q. Suppose a soldier dies without making a will, what becomes of his property? A. If the amount of his estate is more than $500, an administrator will have to be appointed by the civil court; and such administrator will take charge of his property, pay his debts, collect debts due the soldier, and distribute his estate to the persons entitled under the law. 11.-Q. If the amount of the deceased soldier's estate is less than $500, what becomes of his property when he leaves no will? A. Army Regulations provide that the deceased soldier's commanding officer will permit the legal representative or widow of the soldier, if present, to take possession of all his effects in camp or quarters, taking a receipt therefor, and sending it to the adjutant-general of the army. If no legal representative or widow is present, the commanding officer will direct the summary court to take charge of all such effects. The summary court has authority to sell those effects not earlier than thirty days after the soldier's death, and to collect all debts due the soldier. The summary court officer will then deposit the proceeds of such sale with a disbursing quartermaster. The duplicate receipt that the summary court officer receives from the quarter-master, will be sent to the adjutant-general of the army. Watches, trinkets, personal papers and keepsakes will not be sold; but will be labeled with the name, grade and organization of the soldier and sent to the adjutant-general of the army, to be forwarded to the Auditor for the War Department for the benefit of those legally entitled to them. Clothing will not be sent to the adjutant-general, nor to the auditor. There is no authority for officers to pay the debts of deceased soldiers. 12.-Q. What becomes of a testator's property if part of it is included in the will and part is not? A. The part that is mentioned in the will will go according to the provisions of the will. The rest of it will go to his relatives, as though he made no will. 13.-Q. What is the advantage of making a will? A. By making a will a person may disposes of his property as he desires. If he wishes his property to be disposed of according to the law of the State, there is no advantage in making a will. 14.-Q. When does a will take effect? A. It takes effect after the testator's death, and after it has been admitted to probate. 15.-Q. Must a will be in writing? A. Yes, it must be in writing and must be signed by the testator. 16.-Q. Must it be written by the testator himself? A. No. He may have some other person write it for him, either with pen and ink, or with a typewriter; but it must be signed by him. 17.-Q. Are witnesses to the will required? A. Yes. Most States require two witnesses; but some States require three. It is best to have at least three witnesses to a will, as it will then be more easily proved, the event one of the witnesses should die or should go to parts unknown. 18.-Q. Who may be a witness to a will? A. Any person who can read and write, except the testator and except any beneficiary and the executor named in the will. 19.-Q. Must the witnesses all be present when the will is signed? A. Yes; they must all see the testator sign the will; and they should sign the will as witnesses in the presence of the testator and in the presence of each other. 20.-Q. Who selects the witnesses to a will? A. They are selected by the testator, and act as witnesses upon his request. 21.-Q. Must the witnesses know the contents of the will? A. No, it is not necessary for them to know what is in the will. All they need to know is that the writing is a will, and that they are signing it as witnesses to the testator's signature. 22.-Q. What should be done with a will after it is made? A. The testator may keep it in his own possession; or he may send it to some relative or friend; or he may place it in a safe deposit box; or he may send it to the person named in the will as the executor. The will may be kept in a sealed envelope, so that no one except the testator need know the contents of it. 23-Q. What is an executor? A. An executor is a person named in the will as the one who is to carry out the provisions of the will. If no executor is named in the will, or if he should die or should refuse to act as such, the court will appoint an administrator. 24.Q. May a will be canceled or revoked? A. Yes. A testator may cancel or revoke a will at any time. 25.-Q. How may this be done? A. It may be done in several ways. First, by destroying it; or second, by making another will; or third, by making a codicil to the will. 26.-Q. May a will be changed? A. Yes. 27.-Q. How? A. By making another will or by making a codicil? A. A codicil is a supplementary writing to the original will, by which the original will may be canceled entirely, or by which it may be changed by adding something to it or taking something away from it; or making any other change in the original will that the testator may desire. 29.-Q. How must a codicil be made? A. It must be made in the same manner as a will is made, viz: it must be in writing and it must be duly signed and witnessed. 30.-Q. If a testator leaves several wills, which one takes effect? A. The last will takes effect. There is nothing final about a will. A testator may make a will to-day, and make another one at any time there-