3701. Upon petition as provided in this chapter, the court may set
aside to the family of an absentee personal property of the absentee
situated in this state for the purpose of managing, controlling,
encumbering, selling, or conveying, or otherwise engaging in any
transaction with respect to the property, if the court determines
that to do so will be in the best interest of the absentee, including
the interest of the absentee in providing for shelter, food, health
care, education, transportation, or the maintenance of a reasonable
and adequate standard of living for the family of the absentee. The
absentee's interest in the property set aside shall not exceed twenty
thousand dollars ($20,000).
3702. A petition that personal property of an absentee be set aside
as provided in this chapter may be filed by any of the following
(a) A person in whose favor the personal property of the absentee
may be set aside.
(b) A person to whom the absentee has issued a general power of
attorney while serving in the armed forces of the United States or
while an employee of any agency or department of the United States,
provided the power of attorney was valid and effective at the time
issued, regardless whether it has expired or terminated.
3703. (a) The petition shall contain all of the following:
(1) A statement that the petition is filed under this chapter.
(2) In its caption, the last known military rank or grade and the
social security account number of the absentee.
(3) A specific description and estimate of the value of all of the
absentee's property, wherever situated (including all sums due the
absentee from the United States).
(4) A designation of the property to be set aside, and the facts
establishing that setting aside the property is necessary and in the
best interest of the absentee.
(5) If the property is to be set aside for the benefit of the
spouse of the absentee, an allegation that the spouse is an eligible
(6) So far as known to the petitioner, the names and addresses of
all persons comprising the family of the absentee, and an allegation
whether a guardian of the estate or a conservator of the estate of
any member of the family of the absentee has been appointed.
(b) There shall be attached to the petition a certificate of
missing status. The certificate of missing status shall be received
as evidence of that fact and the court shall not determine the status
of the absentee inconsistent with the status shown in the
3704. (a) Notice of the nature of the proceedings and the time and
place of the hearing shall be given by the petitioner at least 15
days before the hearing date by all of the following means:
(1) By mail, together with a copy of the petition, to all persons
comprising the family of the absentee.
(2) By delivery by a method that would be sufficient for service
of summons in a civil action, together with a copy of the petition,
to the secretary concerned or to the head of the United States
department or agency concerned.
(3) By publication pursuant to Section 6061 of the Government Code
in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the
proceedings will be held.
(b) Whenever notice to an officer or agency of this state or of
the United States would be required under Section 1461 or Section
1822 upon petition for appointment of a conservator, like notice
shall be given of the petition under this chapter.
3705. (a) Upon the hearing of the petition, any officer or agency
of this state or the United States or the authorized delegate of the
officer or agency, or any relative or friend of the absentee, may
appear and support or oppose the petition.
(b) If the court determines that the allegations of the petition
are true and correct, the court may order set aside to the family of
the absentee personal property of the absentee situated in this state
(excluding any sums due the absentee from the United States) in
which the absentee's interest does not exceed twenty thousand dollars
($20,000). The property set aside shall be specified in the order.
(c) No bond shall be required of any person to whom property of
the absentee has been set aside by order of the court pursuant to
3706. A determination by the court that the value of all of the
absentee's property, wherever situated, exceeds twenty thousand
dollars ($20,000) or that the absentee owns or has an interest in
real property, wherever situated, does not deprive the court of
jurisdiction to set aside to the family of the absentee personal
property of the absentee situated in this state in which the absentee'
s interest does not exceed twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), and the
court shall order set aside such personal property to the family of
the absentee if the court finds that all of the other provisions of
this chapter have been complied with. The property set aside shall be
specified in the order.
3707. For the purposes of this chapter, any property or interest
therein or lien thereon that the absentee holds as joint tenant shall
be included in determining the property of the absentee and its
value. The joint tenancy interest may be set aside to the family of
the absentee as provided in this chapter but may only be set aside to
a member of the absentee's family who was a joint tenant with the
absentee in the property.
3708. (a) Within six months after the absentee has returned to the
controllable jurisdiction of the military department or civilian
agency or department concerned, or within six months after the
determination of death of the absentee by the secretary concerned or
the head of the department or agency concerned or the delegate of the
secretary or head, the former absentee or the personal
representative of the deceased absentee may, by motion in the same
proceeding, require the person or persons to whom the property of the
absentee was set aside to account for the property and the proceeds,
if any. The time of return to the controllable jurisdiction of the
military department or civilian department or agency concerned or the
determination of the time of death of the absentee shall be
determined by the court under 37 United States Code, Section 556, or
5 United States Code, Section 5566. An official written report or
record of the military department or civilian department or agency
that the absentee has returned to its controllable jurisdiction or is
deceased shall be received as evidence of that fact.
(b) This section does not in any manner derogate the finality and
conclusiveness of any order, judgment, or decree previously entered
in the proceeding.