Compensation for Deceased Victims|
Distribution Plan Information
The Personal Representative (PR) completes the Distribution Plan, found on page 13 of the Compensation Form for Deceased
Victims. The PR must distribute the award according to state law. The PR will provide a proposed distribution plan
to the Special Master for review prior to payment. The Special Master will then review the plan.
If there is a will, then the distribution plan will usually follow the will for the estate, or non-economic, portion of the award.
If there is no will, then the distribution plan will follow state intestacy law for the estate or non-economic portion of the award. The economic loss portion of the award will be distributed according to the state's wrongful death statute.
There are three components of the VCF Compensation Award
1. Non-Economic Award – The $250,000 presumed award on behalf of the victim is generally distributed in
accordance with the victim's will, or in the absence of a will, state intestacy law.
2. Non-Economic Awards for Dependents – The $100,000 additional non-economic award for each dependent is paid
directly to the qualifying dependents. If there are dependents who are minor children, please see below for further
guidance necessary to facilitate the payment of their awards.
3. Economic Loss Award – The wrongful death law of the state of the victim's domicile generally governs the
distribution of the economic loss portion of the award.
If all parties eligible for the wrongful death portion of the award agree to an alternative distribution plan, the
Personal Representative may submit to the Fund proof that the alternative plan has been consented to by the PR and
all other inclusive parties. Please note that money for minor children cannot be redistributed to other parties.
If any dispute should arise that cannot be resolved, the Fund would release the payment of the award to a court supervised
account and the dispute would be settled by the appropriate surrogate court.
- Example: A married victim domiciled in New York without any children and with surviving parents.
- With respect to the non-economic award for this claim, the $250,000 presumed award is generally distributed in
accordance with the victim's will, or in the absence of a will, state intestacy law. (New York intestacy law provides
that the spouse is the sole beneficiary when there are no children). The $100,000 additional non-economic award is paid
directly to the victim's spouse.
- Wrongful death law generally governs the distribution of the economic portion of the award. Under New York
wrongful death law, when a decedent is survived by only a spouse and parent(s), the victim's parents may also be entitled
to a portion of the economic award to the extent that the parents have suffered a pecuniary loss. See generally
N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law § 5-4.4(a)(McKinney 2002). Pecuniary loss in New York is defined broadly and may include
cases where the parent is not dependent, but may reasonably expect support from the decedent in the future. The amount,
if any, of an economic loss award that a parent may be entitled to under New York wrongful death law is a fact-based
decision that depends on the unique family circumstances of each case.
- As a result, the economic loss portion of the award will be deposited in the estate's account and overseen by the
surrogate court to be distributed according to New York law. Any dispute would be settled by the surrogate court.
- To expedite payment, the PR may also send the Fund proof of a plan of distribution that has been consented to by the
victim's parent or parents. The Fund may approve direct payments of the entire award after receiving a written consensual
plan, signed and notarized by both the PR and the decedent's parent(s).
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