Death Benefits

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First Circuit Upholds Use of Retained Asset Accounts in ERISA Class Action

On July 2, 2014, a unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that Unum Life Insurance Company’s practice of using Retained Asset Accounts (RAAs) to pay death benefits claims on group...more

New Minnesota Law Allows Investors to File Lawsuits Seeking to Validate Life Insurance Policies Before They Mature

In most states, carriers may void life insurance policies for lack of insurable interest at any point, even after the two-year contestability period prescribed by statute. This loophole allows insurers to continue collecting...more

That’s Not My Kid! Board Clarifies Definition Of “Child” Under The Longshore Act

On February 25, 2014, the Benefits Review Board rendered its decision in Smith v. Mt. Mitchell, LLC, ____BRBS____ (D.O.L. Ben. Rev. Bd. Feb. 25, 2014), which affirmed an Administrative Law Judge’s decision and order,...more

Simplified IRS Relief for Same-Sex Couples and Others

On January 27, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service announced in Revenue Procedure 2014-18 a simplified procedure for certain estates to make a late portability election under section 2010(c)(5)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code....more

West Virginia Court Dismisses Lawsuits Challenging Life Insurers’ Unclaimed Death Benefits Practices

On December 27, 2013, a West Virginia court dismissed 63 separate lawsuits brought by the Treasurer of the State of West Virginia ("Treasurer") against life insurance companies doing business in West Virginia. The court...more

Ontario Introduces PBA Amendments in Response to Carrigan Case

Last year, the Ontario Court of Appeal surprised many in the pension industry with its decision in Carrigan v. Carrigan Estate, which essentially established a new priority scheme for the payment of pre-retirement death...more

What Types Of Benefits Does Workers’ Comp Provide?

An on-the-job injury covered by Workers’ Compensation could be anything from a bruised thumb to the complete loss of both hands, from a twisted ankle to an accidental death. Each injury calls for an appropriate level of...more

Legal Alert: Florida Announces DMF Search Requirement and Date-of-Death Dormancy Trigger

In an administrative declaratory ruling, the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced that Florida’s unclaimed property statute requires life insurers to search the Social Security Administration Death Master...more

ERISA – 5th Circuit: Ambiguities In Plan Terms CANNOT Be Construed Against Plan Administrator When Plan Confers Discretion “To...

How will a court construe ambiguities in ERISA plan terms? If the plan confers discretion to the administrator “to interpret plan terms,” ambiguities may NOT be construed against the plan administrator....more

How will a court construe ambiguities in ERISA plan terms?

If the plan confers discretion to the administrator “to interpret plan terms”, ambiguities may NOT be construed against the plan administrator. Here’s the case of Porter v. Lowe’s Companies, __ F.3d__ (5th Cir....more

The Meaning Of Life Settlements: Are They Securities Or Not?

“Life settlements” are financial transactions in which the original owner of a life insurance policy sells it to a third party for an up front, lump sum payment. The amount paid for the policy is less than the death benefit...more

Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act

The Virginia legislature recently passed the Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act. The Uniform Real Property Transfer on Death Act allows real property to be treated in a similar fashion as bank accounts, stock...more

Life Insurance Company that Filed Interpleader Action to Determine How to Proceed With Benefits Resulting From a Homicide is...

In Farmers New World Life Insurance Company v. Rees (--- Cal.Rptr.3d ----, Cal.App. 2 Dist., August 30, 2013), a California court of appeal considered whether a life insurance company that delayed paying benefits to the...more

Workplace Accidents And Deaths Rise In Cell-Phone Tower Industry

In 2008, OSHA called cell-phone tower climbing the most dangerous job in America. In terms of workplace accidents, there have already been 10 deaths and three serious injuries this year. An Alabama man was one of the few...more

Legal Alert: Federal District Court Validates Insurer's Retention of Policy Proceeds Until Receiving Proof of Death

On August 20, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts dismissed a putative class action over an insurer’s alleged failure to timely pay life insurance policy death benefits to beneficiaries....more

The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Windsor Decision — Death Benefit Goes to Spouse in Same Sex Marriage

See how the Supreme Court’s June 26, 2013 United States v. Windsor decision, which concluded the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally restricted spousal benefits to members of the opposite sex, affects ERISA beneficiary...more

Federal District Court Awards Pension Benefit to Same-Sex Spouse

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has ordered a profit sharing plan to pay death benefits to the same-sex spouse of a deceased employee....more

Two Federal Courts Recognize Same-Sex Spousal Rights for Residents of States Not Permitting Same-Sex Marriage

Obergefell v. Kasich and Cozen O’Connor v. Tobits may reflect a growing trend of courts and other bodies to recognize same-sex marriages validly celebrated elsewhere even if the couple’s current state of residence does not...more

First Post-Windsor ERISA Decision

In the first reported ERISA decision post-Windsor, the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held (in Cozen O’Connor, P.C. v. Jennifer Tobits) that a same-sex spouse is to be treated as the decedent’s...more

Same-Sex Spouse Is Entitled To Death Benefits Under ERISA-Qualified Plan

Following on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor, a federal district court in Pennsylvania recently held that the same-sex spouse of a deceased employee is entitled to receive death benefits under the...more

What Benefits are Available to Bereaved Family Members?

Dr. Jack Rabin, 56, tripped by the salad bar at a Harrisburg restaurant in November 2006 while on a working lunch with a doctoral student from Penn State University. Dr. Rabin suffered a broken arm and shoulder and picked up...more

DOMA’S Demise Has Broad Impact on U.S. Benefit Plans: Prepare for new claims and practices

When you heard about the invalidation of the part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as between a man and a woman by the United States Supreme Court, you probably thought: “Now my plan is going to...more

Structured Settlement Planning for Trial Attorneys: The Benefits of Using Qualified Settlement Funds and Private Placement...

Overview - Trial attorneys are extremely vulnerable to a tax landscape that is becoming hostile territory. The result of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2013 (ATRA) is that earned income is taxed at substantially...more

Carrigan Case: Supreme Court of Canada Dismisses Leave to Appeal

This morning, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the application for leave to appeal in Carrigan v. Carrigan Estate. As a result, the Ontario Court of Appeal’s new interpretation of the priority scheme for the payment of...more

Malfunctioning Dump Truck Instantly Kills Alabama Worker

A horrific New Year's Eve workplace accident has left one family in east Alabama completely devastated following the death of their loved one. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will likely lead an...more

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