asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether the gratuity paid to the next-of-kin of a deceased Civil Servant forms part of the estate of the deceased; whether it can be claimed by creditors, including the Inland Revenue Commissioners, when the estate, other than the gratuity, is insufficient to meet such claims; under what statutory authority a gratuity may so be claimed; and whether he will furnish particulars of cases falling under this head affecting the administrators of estates of deceased Civil Servants?
If, as I assume, my hon. Friend is referring to the gratuity payable in respect of an established Civil Servant under Section 2 (1) of the Superannuation Act, 1919, such gratuity is not payable to the next-of-kin as such, but to his legal personal representatives, on receipt by whom it becomes part of the estate of the deceased. The first duty of the executors or administrators is to discharge, out of the estate, any debts owed by the deceased, and as the gratuity forms part of the estate it is available, without special statutory authority, for the payment of debts including those due to the Inland Revenue authorities. I am unable to furnish details of particular cases.