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Retirement Planning > Saving for Retirement

Supreme Court Asks For Thoughts On Plan Documents

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The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the parties in a retirement plan case to answer questions about whether the plan should have had to pay out benefits to a participant’s ex-wife.

The court has issued an order seeking supplemental briefs in connection with Kennedy et al. vs. Plan Adm. For DuPont Savings et al.

The case involves claims against the benefits of a Texas resident who participated in a pension plan and a retirement plan.

The Texas resident, William Kennedy, divorced and failed to complete all of the steps necessary to act on a divorce settlement agreement in which the ex-wife agreed to give up any interests in the plans, according to court pleadings.

A state law held that divorce ended a spouse’s right to a stake in the other spouse’s pension benefits.

When the man died, the plans paid all benefits to the ex-wife.

The estate sued.

A trial court ruled in favor of the estate, but the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the ex-wife.

The Supreme Court now says it wants to hear what the parties think about the following question: “Whether 29 U.S.C. ?1104(a)(1)(D), mandating administration of a plan in accordance with plan documents, required that the distribution in question be made to [the ex-wife of William Kennedy], even on the assumption that a waiver of her interest was not otherwise subject to statutory bar.”

The briefs are due Nov. 10.

Outside groups also can file friend-of-the-court briefs on the topic, and those briefs also are due Nov. 10, the court says.


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