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BURLINGHAM V. CROUSE, 228 U. S. 459 (1913)

U.S. Supreme Court

Burlingham v. Crouse, 228 U.S. 459 (1913)

Burlingham v. Crouse

No. 184

Argued March 12, 13, 1913

Decided April 28, 1913

228 U.S. 459


In construing a general reference to property in the Bankruptcy Act, weight must be given to a proviso dealing with a special class of property.

A proviso may sometimes mean additional legislation, and not be intended to have the usual and primary office of a proviso, which is to limit generalities and exclude from the scope of the statute that which otherwise would be within its terms.

Life insurance is property, but it is peculiar property, and Congress,

Page 228 U. S. 460

by the proviso in 70a of the Bankruptcy Act, intended that the bankrupt should have the benefit of all policies except to the extent of the actual cash value which could be realized by the trustee for the creditors.

Under the proviso in § 70a of the Bankruptcy Act, the assignee of a policy of insurance on the life of the bankrupt has the right to retain the policy on the same terms that the bankrupt might have retained it.

Under § 70a, life insurance policies which have no cash surrender value, or on which the company has loaned the full surrender value, so that the policy has no cash surrender value remaining, do not pass to the trustee as general property, but remain the property of the bankrupt, who is not limited in dealing with them.

181 F. 479 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction of § 70a of the Bankruptcy Act and the ownership of policies of insurance on the life of a bankrupt, are stated in the opinion.

Page 228 U. S. 465

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