Designation of a beneficiary to receive retirement system death benefits

Designation of a beneficiary to receive retirement system death benefitsEstate of Kraut v City of New York, NYS Supreme Court, [not officially reported] The Kraut case demonstrates the critical importance of a member actually filing a designation of beneficiary form with a public retirement system. Although the New York City Employees' Retirement System's [NYCERS] records indicated that Kraut's son Steven was his beneficiary, Gloria A. Djaha contended that NYCERS should have paid Kraut's $268,000 [after taxes] death benefit to her. Her argument: because Kraut had written "[t]he beneficiary whom I would nominate to receive the benefit payable after my death … is my Financee [sic] … is Gloria Anne Djaha on his retirement application form." But since Kraut never filed a formal Designation of Beneficiary form naming Djaha as his beneficiary, the court ruled that the son was Kraut's lawful beneficiary.

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