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Surviving Spouse?

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Why on earth would anyone on a cruise be on here answering questions??  You must be bored out of your mind! One of my pet peeves is when people need to make sure others know they are on vacation. Really???

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I enjoy hearing vacation reports - at least vicariously enjoying the vacations of others is better than nothing! If I'm not interested, I don't have to read it...

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5 hours ago, KEB said:

Why on earth would anyone on a cruise be on here answering questions??  You must be bored out of your mind! One of my pet peeves is when people need to make sure others know they are on vacation. Really???

One of my pet peeves is people who think we need to know what their irrelevant pet peeves are.  No one is forcing you to read these messages, but you might want to read my substantive answers to questions raised.

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4 hours ago, Belgarath said:

I enjoy hearing vacation reports - at least vicariously enjoying the vacations of others is better than nothing! If I'm not interested, I don't have to read it...

Thanks Belgarath. Today is a sea day; heading to Norway landfall  in about 10 hours.

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On 8/8/2018 at 10:58 AM, Fiduciary Guidance Counsel said:

(2)   Garcia-Tatupu v. Bert Bell/Peter Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, 249 F. Supp. 3d 570 (D. Mass. 2017) (whether a nunc pro tunc order entitled a participant’s former spouse to a benefit turned on whether the former spouse’s interest had been established before the participant’s death so that the order did not create a new benefit not otherwise payable).

FGC cited this case earlier in the thread, and there has been a further decision by the District Court (linked below). Here too DROs attempted to retroactively treat the ex-spouse as Tatupu's surviving spouse on his date of death for purposes of survivor benefits. After examining the language of the marital separation agreement (which discussed the pension plan, and provided for "shared payments" but no survivor rights) and performing a fairly extensive survey of the law, the Court ultimately concluded:

"By subsequently purporting to give Ms. Garcia-Tatupu survivorship rights, thus allowing her to assert a separate interest in the Plan, the state post mortem and nunc pro tunc domestic relations orders have the effect of altering rights under the Marital Separation Agreement and providing benefits that were not otherwise payable upon Mosiula Tatupu’s death.This is an increased benefit under 29 U.S.C.§ 1056(d)(3)(D); therefore, the post mortem state domestic relations orders do not provide an enforceable Qualified Domestic Relations Order beyond the terms of the Marital Separation Agreement."

Interesting subject.

Tatupu v NFL

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On 8/8/2018 at 4:25 PM, Larry Starr said:

You seem to not understand how a DB plan works. Do you only deal with DC plans

no need to get nasty...

On 8/8/2018 at 4:25 PM, Larry Starr said:

If the plan pays out a benefit that someone isn't entitled to, don't you think SOMEONE has to be a loser? in this case, it is the plan itself (and the employer by proxy).

The participant's DON'T lose, their benefit is defined and protected.  The employer violates the exclusive benefit rule if the employer makes benefit determinations based on the employer's best interest.

On 8/8/2018 at 4:25 PM, Larry Starr said:

Also, the plan is not subject to a local judge's order except as it applies under a QDRO since the plan is subject only to FEDERAL LAW (and the QDRO is a specifically provided exception)

ok, my turn to call "silly":  no federal court ever created or dissolved a marriage.  Therefore the existence of spousal benefits is exclusively determined by STATE law.

 

On 8/8/2018 at 4:25 PM, Larry Starr said:

And I fear you completely miss the proper application of fiduciary status; the plan (or the PA) MUST follow the terms of the plan,

Following the plan terms is my point precisely.  The plan says pay spousal benefits.  State court determines who is a spouse.  How dare a PA challenge the court, not follow the plan (which will say to pay the spousal benefit), just to serve it own interests?

On 8/6/2018 at 4:36 PM, Newbie said:

They explained that the entire benefit "died with X" because he died single

 Original poster says PA made a determination that the participant died single.  The PA doesn't get to make that determination if the State court makes a ruling.  In this case it made two rulings: first there is no marriage, second there is.  The most recent ruling prevails.  The PA could have relied on the first ruling if it had acted on it and could not "unring the bell".  Those facts are present here.

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22 hours ago, QP_Guy said:

no need to get nasty...

The participant's DON'T lose, their benefit is defined and protected.  The employer violates the exclusive benefit rule if the employer makes benefit determinations based on the employer's best interest.

ok, my turn to call "silly":  no federal court ever created or dissolved a marriage.  Therefore the existence of spousal benefits is exclusively determined by STATE law.

 

Following the plan terms is my point precisely.  The plan says pay spousal benefits.  State court determines who is a spouse.  How dare a PA challenge the court, not follow the plan (which will say to pay the spousal benefit), just to serve it own interests?

 Original poster says PA made a determination that the participant died single.  The PA doesn't get to make that determination if the State court makes a ruling.  In this case it made two rulings: first there is no marriage, second there is.  The most recent ruling prevails.  The PA could have relied on the first ruling if it had acted on it and could not "unring the bell".  Those facts are present here.

Sorry, but we'll just have to agree to disagree.  State courts have only the authority provided by Federal Law (ERISA) with regard to retirement plans; period. The only authority they have is to issue a DRO which the PLAN ADMINISTRATOR determines whether or not it is qualified (not the judge!).  Most of your statements (IMHIO) are incorrect.  Fact: at death, the participant was NOT married.  If you disagree with that, we have nothing more to discuss.

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The First Circuit has ruled against the ex-spouse in the Tatupu v NFL case. But the decision may be of limited importance. Here's a Bloomberg Federal Tax Blog summary.

"In the end, however, the First Circuit avoided deciding the nunc pro tunc question, cautioning that its narrow ruling was based only on the specific facts of the MSA and Tatupu’s lump-sum election."

 

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