Washington Law Review


Frank Latcham


In 1939 the Washington Court in Decker v. Fowler virtually eliminated the effect of the beneficiary provision in government savings bonds by holding that beneficiaries named in the bonds have no right to the proceeds on the death of the purchaser unless there has been a valid inter vivos gift of the bond between the purchaser and the beneficiary. The majority of the court apparently failed to recognize that there was a donee beneficiary contract entered into between the purchaser and the government. In two subsequent Washington cases, where the court has found a contract relation in somewhat analogous situations, Decker v. Fowler has been specifically distinguished as not involving a contract problem. Thus the court has adhered to its position in the Decker case with the inevitable result of confusion as to the rights of beneficiaries of government savings bonds.

First Page