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Cases of Interest: Survivor Benefits
National Legal Research Group, Inc.

ALASKA: Williams v. Crawford, 982 P.2d 250 (Alaska 1999).
A property distribution agreement obligated the husband to name the wife as recipient of a civil service pension's survivorship benefits; it did not entitle the wife to a guaranteed annuity in an amount she would have received had she remained statutorily eligible for survivorship benefits.
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ALASKA: Zito v. Zito, 969 P.2d 1144 (Alaska 1998).
Barring an express understanding to the contrary, an agreement for equitable division of retirement benefits earned during a marriage presumptively encompasses survivor benefits.
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CONNECTICUT: Askinazi v. Askinazi, 34 Conn. App. 328, 641 A.2d 413 (1994).
The trial court did not err by treating the survivorship benefit of the husband's federal pension as a potential source of future alimony rather than as property.
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MARYLAND: Caldwell v. Caldwell, 103 Md. App. 452, 653 A.2d 994 (1995).
A federal civil service employee's spouse may be awarded the maximum survivor annuity benefit available when the employee dies, not merely the marital portion of the benefit.
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PENNSYLVANIA: Palladino v. Palladino, 713 A.2d 676 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1998).
The wife's survivor benefits under the husband's pension plan were properly classified as marital property, valued, and awarded to her in the parties' property distribution. During the parties' separation, the husband's defined benefit pension entered pay status and he began to receive monthly retirement benefits. At that time, he was ordered to elect a joint-life pension, which would insure that the wife would receive the same amount as the husband following his death. But for that election, the husband's monthly benefits would have been higher.
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