Estate of Kensinger v. URL Pharma Inc., No. 10-4525 (3d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
When William and Adele divorced in 2008, she waived her right to proceeds from his 401(k) plan, governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. 1001-1461. He did not replace her as named beneficiary before he died intestate, nine months later. Because of a 2009 Supreme Court case, Kennedy v. Plan Administrator, 555 U.S. 285, the plan was obligated to pay the proceeds to Adele in accordance with plan documents regardless of the waiver. The district court held that estate could not attempt to recover the funds by bringing suit directly against Adele to enforce her waiver. The Third circuit reversed in part. Permitting suits against beneficiaries after benefits have been paid does not implicate any concern of expeditious payment or undermine any core objective of ERISA.