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  1. Thank you very much DSG your analysis. IMHOit is "spot on" and yes , what you described in one of your scenarios is pretty much what occurred; hence my thought that the PA may, rhetorically speaking, "No Harm No Foul" with regards to this ahem, "misstatement" ;).
  2. So most, if not all, plan administrators will ask a designated "Primary Beneficiary" (or anyone requesting a payout of a "benefit") to complete a "Benefit Claim Form". The format I am familiar with typically starts at the top by explaining the nature of the benefit including amounts and different options for payout(if applicable) from which the "beneficiary" may choose. Then what follows are a series of "declarations"; pre-printed on the "claim form" that the "beneficiary" confirms by checking a box next to each individual phrase/declaration. Finally, at the bottom of the claim form there is a signature and date line where the "beneficiary" (as I'm referring to them) is to sign and date the claim form. In print either directly above or below the signature line is language to the effect of : "By signing this form you confirm, under penalties of perjury the accuracy/correctness of your responses to the statements above". Now, say the person filling out the form "affirms" an obviously false statement, for example that they were still married to the deceased plan participant at ther time of their death, when, in fact, they are divorced from the deceased. Upon learning of the falsehood, which, potentionally, could affect a payout (or might not ala' Egelhof v. Egelhof) could the Plan Administrator deny/revoke/attempt to recover any "payout" or , in this particular instance, might the administrator, determine based on established caselaw such as Egelhof v. Egelhof for example, and say "No harm no foul" or would they be obligated to perform further due diligence and/or look to some outside legal authority, such as the courts, to make any final determination ?
  3. Hello All, Yet another chapter in the ongoing saga of "Defined Benefit Issues". Question: Can a primary beneficiary, or for that matter ANY beneficiary have their right to a "benefit" voided/rescinded/revoked/etc. if said beneficiary makes a material misrepresentation ( signed written statement/assertion under penalty of perjury) to the Plan Administrator AFTER the original Plan Participant has passed(died) and before a "payout" has been made by the Plan/Plan's Administrator under the terms of said (ERISA-covered) Defined Benefit Plan ? Any thoughts and especially legal case citation would be IMMENSELY appreciated! Thanks!
  4. @ Appleby First noting Peter Gulia's excellent response. At this time, I do not have the actual "Plan Documents"; just several year's SPDs. That being said, in the SPD's two statements are found 1) That any designated "contingent beneficary(ies) will ONLY(emphasis mine) inherit if none of the (designated) primary beneficiaries are alive at the time of death of the original plan participant. 2) Further on in the SPD it states "in the event there is NO VALID(again emphasis mine) primary beneficiary, any benefit will be paid to the Estate of the deceased participant". So imagine an instance where a plan participant has designated an individual who should not be the primary beneficiary for any one a several reasons (not going into particulars) . On the same beneficiary designation form, the then living plan participant also designates one or more "contingent beneficiaries". Now, the original plan participant dies and the Plan's administrator pays out the, for lack of a better term, "death benefit" to the designated primary beneficiary, who, again, should not be "eligible". the question then becomes who has "standing" to sue to recover: The participant's Estate or the "contingent beneficiary"? As Peter Gulia pointed out the SPD IS NOT a "PLAN DOCUMENT" and so, in my interpretation of Peter's answer, the actual plan documents are the best place to look for the answer. If anyone knows where there is a court that set precedence saying, in effect, irrespective of any "Plan document", the contingent beneficiary "gets promoted" , as you put it, to become the primary, please let me know.
  5. Not to "Beat a Dead Horse", but the courts have ruled, have they not, that a Beneficiary Designatiuon Form is a "Plan Document" Correct? or a "Plan Instrument" ?
  6. Thank you VERY MUCH Peter for your extremely informative and insightful answer! I will review the actual plan documents as such as move forward accordingly.
  7. Mr Gulia,

    If I may make one more "trip to the well" I weould greatly appreciate any thoughts you may have on my second Forum Subjectr regarding the correct "Successor Beneficiary" to a ERISA -covered Defined Benefits Plan where the original plan participant has died and the originally designated "
    "PRImary Benficiary" is invalid. 

    1. Peter Gulia

      Peter Gulia

      See my note in that discussion.

  8. Hello All, Another vexing question to which we have conflicting answers. In the event that a "Primary beneficiary" of a ERISA -covered Defined Benefit Plan is determined to be invalid, what determines who the "Sucessor/New Primary Beneficiary" will be? In this partiicular instance, in addition to a "Primary beneficiary" , the completed form indicated a "Contingent Beneficiary". It should be noted that the "Plan Documents" (i.e. Summary Plan Description SPD) states, specifically, that the "Contigent Beneficiary" shall become the new "Primary Beneficiary" in the event the "Primary Beneficiary" is deceased; the document gives no other instance wherein the "Contigent Beneficiary" shall become the new "Primary Beneficiary" . The Plan documents ALSO states, specifically, that in the event that there is no VALID (emphasis mine) "Primary Beneficiary" the benefits shall be paid to the deceased plan partipant's Estate. The question is: Do the "Plan Documents" determine who is the new "Primary Beneficiary" or some other ruling authority ? Based upon the plan document wording specifically addressing the event of an "invalid Primary Beneficiary", would not the correct new "Primary Beneficiary" be the deceased plan participants Estate per the wording in the SPD? Thanks in advance for everyone's help!
  9. Hello Effen, No "insured death benefit". The recently deceased had a pretty standard "old-school" Pension Plan from an employer they worked for many, many years earlier. Because "they" worked for the company many years ago and for a long period of time, two things occured: 1) They named their then "spouse" as primary beneficiary, 2) They were fully "vested" in the plan but when they died they had not begun to take benefits (they died before the minmum age to start recieving "benfits" of any type under the DB Plan). Many years later, after leaving the company, they divorced their previous spouse(who had previously been made the PRIMARY beneficiary). As stated prior, the MSA included specific language wherein the soon-to-be former spouse "waived" any interest of any sort in said DB Plan. The T.P.A. for the DB plan went ahead and paid out the lump-sum "death benefit" to the former spouse. It was a substantial sum and without a "valid" primary benficiary the sum would have been/should have been paid to the deceased's Estate which has several beneficiaries. More than one highly-regarded attorney has suggested pursuing action , post-distribution, in state court to recovery the monies. Hence the reason for my original question (the Estate falls within the purview of the Seventh District). Based upon caselaw generously supplied by previous posters (special thanks to Peter Gulia), it would appear that such a strategy would be destined to fail.
  10. Hi Tom, I prefer not to get into too many details regarding the actual detailed circumstances at this time; as I anticipate legal action shortly on the matter and who knows who would be reading this. That being said, the "issue at hand" involves a Defined Benefit Plan that paid the death benefit of a recently deceased, fully vested, former plan participant, to their ex-spouse. The ex-spouse, as part of a Marital Settlement Agreement many years earlier , had specifically waived any interest whatsoever in the DB Plan; either in recieving a share of future payments or any potential death benefit .
  11. Thank you for the detailed response, citations, and advice on "searching" Peter I really appreciate it!
  12. Thank you VERY MUCH for your reply and the NUMEROUS citations! I've been searching several different sources (Justia, Casetext,etc.) and personally haven't found any rulings that would be adverse. I had read the petition for a Writ of Certiorari in Ragan v. ragan and I thought it presented a pretty good summary (albeit from 2 yrs ago) of the various "Districts" positions regarding post -distribution lawsuits to recover monies paid out to ex-spouses. I'l sit and read all of your "citations" this evening. Thank you very much for your extremely detailed and informative reply! I REALLY APPRECIATE IT!!
  13. Hello, I've been trying to determine if the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has "ruled" one way or the other on the validity of post-distribution lawsuits from ERISA covered Plans to recover monies paid to ex-spouse that explicitly "waived" ANY benefits of ANY SORT ,i.e prior to death of the plan participant as well as entitlement to any death benefit(s)? If so, can someone please provide a case citation? Thanks in advance! Philip W.
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