Mesothelioma & Asbestos Trust Funds | Asbestos Exposure Payouts – Mesothelioma.com

Jennifer Lucarelli Legal Advisor and Contributor
Linda Molinari Editor in Chief
Mesothelioma trust funds provide compensation for asbestos victims and their families. Many negligent asbestos companies established trust funds after going bankrupt. They created asbestos trusts to pay out current and future claims. More than $30 billion is set aside across more than 65 trust funds.

Attorney Jennifer Lucarelli describes asbestos bankruptcy trusts and how an experienced mesothelioma attorney can help mesothelioma victims access the funds these trusts provide.
Mesothelioma trust funds are large amounts of money set aside by asbestos companies to handle asbestos claims. Eligible patients and loved ones can file a claim against the trust to receive compensation.
During the past few decades, asbestos companies have faced thousands of claims resulting in large settlements and jury awards from mesothelioma lawsuits. In an attempt to limit the amount of money they would have to pay to mesothelioma victims, many of these companies reorganized under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This forced companies to create trust funds to compensate then-current and future victims who had been exposed to their products. These trust funds are referred to as asbestos trust funds, mesothelioma trusts funds or asbestos bankruptcy trust funds.
In 1994, the United States Congress established section 524(g) under the Bankruptcy Code. This allowed companies with asbestos liabilities to create trust funds.
Asbestos use was popular until the late 1970s, when its dangers became well known. Many asbestos companies were aware of health risks but continued to use asbestos. Asbestos companies are not only the businesses mining and producing the asbestos mineral, but also the facilities using asbestos to produce asbestos-containing materials.
Thousands of people have been exposed to asbestos and are at risk of developing diseases, such as mesothelioma. People are exposed to asbestos in the following ways:
The number of asbestos-related diagnoses grows each year. Victims continue to seek compensation from the companies responsible for wrongful asbestos exposure. Compensation from these trust funds can help victims with treatment costs and lost income.
Asbestos trusts were created to provide compensation to victims of exposure and their loved ones. Trust funds provided companies with a way to handle multiple asbestos claims, as well as future claims.
Many companies filed for bankruptcy in an attempt to reduce or eliminate their liability. Some had no other option as they lost any profit to paying out asbestos claims. Asbestos companies filed for two types of bankruptcy: Chapter 11 or Chapter 7.
Companies filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy must reorganize. Reorganization protects the companies against mesothelioma lawsuits. Instead, their trust funds handle all claims.
The companies must present a business plan in court, including an estimate of initial funding for the trust. A judge approves or denies the plan for reorganization and appoints a trustee. The trustee is responsible for trust valuation.
Trust Fund Valuation: The designated trustee regularly evaluates the trust’s funding and determines if the payout percentage needs adjusting. The payout rate may need to be lowered to ensure future claimants can receive compensation.
Numerous asbestos companies have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and have established trust funds. Some companies were denied reorganization and forced to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Currently, Johns-Manville Corporation, Celotex Corporation, Eagle Pitcher and UNARCO have the longest-standing asbestos trusts. The number of companies completing court proceedings and establishing active trusts continues to grow.

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Asbestos victims and loved ones can file a trust fund claim to receive compensation. Financial assistance can help with a variety of hardships families face after a death or diagnosis.
Mesothelioma and asbestos trust funds are designed to pay out current and future claims. Payout amounts will fluctuate to ensure funds don’t run out.
Mesothelioma lawyers can ensure patients meet all eligibility requirements for maximum compensation.
Trust fund eligibility requirements limit the number of individuals that can file a claim. They also help determine compensation amounts.
Common criteria typically include documented proof of exposure and validation of an asbestos-related diagnosis. Although most trust funds have the same eligibility requirements, some have additional criteria.
Mesothelioma patients and their loved ones should work with an experienced asbestos attorney to determine which trust fund to file against, as well as eligibility requirements. Asbestos law firms have experience handling mesothelioma claims. They can help ensure claimants receive adequate compensation as quickly as possible.
The amount of compensation a claimant receives from a trust fund varies. Factors that may influence the payout amount include:
The most common conditions patients are diagnosed with include mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer. The severity of their disease can influence payout amounts.
Asbestos trust fund settlements from higher-paying trusts can exceed $125,000. Currently, the highest paying trusts are:
Ultimately, claimants should discuss payout amounts with their lawyer. Attorneys will take multiple factors into account to provide an estimate for a claimant’s specific case.
The amount of money in a trust fund varies by company. Companies have to ensure their trusts have enough money to pay present and future claims.
There is currently more than $30 billion available from more than 65 asbestos trust funds.
Claimants may be entitled to compensation from multiple asbestos trusts. In other words, they are not limited to the payout amount listed for one trust fund.
Each trust fund has a payment schedule to ensure continued payouts. Schedules are typically based on a percentage of what the claimant is entitled to and are subject to change over time. This percentage is referred to as an asbestos trust payment percentage. For example, if a patient or loved one is entitled to $100,000, a trust fund with a 30% payment percentage would pay $30,000.
The payment percentage can increase or decrease based on the number of claims the trust has budgeted for versus how many claims they actually receive over a certain period of time. This is one reason it is important for victims to file a claim with any applicable trusts as soon as possible.
Asbestos victims may be concerned trust funds will run out of money and stop making payments. This concern arises from the following circumstances:
One example of an underfunded trust is the Johns-Manville Trust. The trust began with $2.5 billion but has had to stop payments twice. Payout percentages have also been dramatically reduced to continue making payments to claimants.
Mesothelioma lawyers have experience negotiating with trusts and can help ensure victims receive the highest compensation possible.

Mesothelioma patients and loved ones can reference this comprehensive list of asbestos trust funds. The list is not exhaustive and is subject to change.

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To file an asbestos trust fund claim, individuals should seek guidance from a lawyer. Lawyers will guide claimants through a multi-step process that involves meeting eligibility requirements, gathering documentation and formally submitting a claim.
Patients and loved ones are often balancing treatment, travel, caregiving and other responsibilities. A mesothelioma law firm can help reduce the burden and speed up the process for a timely payout.
Asbestos attorneys are not only important for filing a lawsuit, but also for filing a trust fund claim. Experienced lawyers provide a variety of benefits, including an understanding of eligibility requirements, experience negotiating for maximum compensation and knowledge of trusts accepting claims.
Every trust fund has requirements claimants must meet to file a claim. These criteria are often published on a public website for review. Lawyers can use this information to prepare each case. Common criteria for a mesothelioma trust fund claim include:
Other criteria may apply to trust funds. For example, claimants must follow the statute of limitations applicable to each trust. The statute of limitations sets deadlines for when individuals must file a claim after an asbestos-related death or diagnosis.
To ensure eligibility, patients and family members should file a claim as soon as possible. Each trust has its own legal deadline for filing claims. Even if claimants are unsure of eligibility, they should discuss with an asbestos lawyer before ruling out the possibility of filing a trust fund claim.
A mesothelioma lawyer will help gather the evidence needed to establish a case. Lawyers may present the following information during a case:
If patients have already prepared a lawsuit, that evidence may be used to file a trust fund claim.
After gathering evidence, the asbestos victim files a claim with the trust fund. Claim submission varies based on the trust. It’s usually done one of two ways:
An asbestos attorney may file on the claimant’s behalf. They will verify all documentation and evidence to ensure the process moves as quickly and smoothly as possible.
After filing a claim, the trust fund administrators will review all submission materials. There are two primary methods of review for trust fund claims.
Both review types have their own benefits. An asbestos lawyer can suggest the best type of review and help ensure the right review takes place.
Some trusts utilize central claims processing partners. The partner company handles multiple aspects of the claim, simplifying and speeding up the process. As a result, claimants may be able to receive compensation quicker. A mesothelioma attorney can help mesothelioma patients decide on the best method of review.
Asbestos victims are typically not required to pay taxes on compensation from a trust fund. However, trusts may have differing regulations. An asbestos attorney can provide the best insight.
Trust fund claims must be validated before claimants can receive financial compensation. Once validated, money to pay the claim will be liquidated. This means the payment amount will be determined and assigned to the claim.
A lawyer can negotiate after the review to reach an asbestos trust fund settlement. After a successful negotiation, the claimant will receive compensation.
There are multiple ways mesothelioma patients and their loved ones can seek compensation. In addition to a trust fund claim, individuals may seek to file a mesothelioma lawsuit or pursue veterans’ benefits. A mesothelioma lawyer can help individuals determine the best option.
Veterans may be able to file a claim with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). There are various types of VA claims available for compensation and additional benefits.
Trust funds are largely guided by federal regulations. However, some states have additional rules in place. For example, some states enable setoffs. Setoffs deduct the amount of compensation a claimant received from a trust fund from future jury awards or settlements.
Some states may also allow lawyers to utilize evidence from trust fund claims to support court cases. Claimants should discuss which option for compensation is best, as well as how it could impact future court proceedings.
The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2017 was introduced for stricter monitoring of asbestos trust fund claims and payouts. Under the FACT Act, trusts would be required to publicly share information regarding claims and payouts. This federal legislation has not been signed into law.
The FACT Act would require trusts to create a public docket that may contain sensitive information. This could include the last four digits of claimants’ social security numbers, names, type of exposure and reason for seeking compensation.
Proponents of the FACT Act assert it would prevent “double-dipping” from multiple asbestos trust funds. In other words, claimants could not file full claims with multiple companies. Currently, this abuse of the system could potentially prevent other qualified individuals from getting the compensation they deserve.
Those in opposition of the FACT Act feel it could actually limit the amount of money asbestos companies had to pay, robbing claimants of the money they’re entitled to. Opposers also feel that there is not enough fraudulent activity occurring to warrant such an act.
Any progression of the FACT Act has been stalled, and there is no clear timeframe of when or if it will go into effect. To address claimant concerns and hold asbestos companies accountable for proper trust fund handling, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken action to support asbestos victims.
The DOJ’s main priority is to ensure legitimate claimants receive the compensation they are entitled to. Mismanagement of trusts and fraudulent claims for compensation could hinder the rights of other victims.
The DOJ expressed the following concerns in regards to asbestos trust fund handling:
The DOJ has taken action to address mismanagement. Measures include:
These actions support tort reform. Tort reform seeks to limit the amount of litigation from victims seeking compensation. Tort reform helps to eliminate unwarranted claims and prioritize legitimate pursuits of compensation.
Mesothelioma patients should discuss their eligibility with a lawyer. Experienced mesothelioma attorneys will ensure claims are filed accurately to provide compensation to victims in need.
Behrens MA. Asbestos Trust Transparency. 87 Fordham L. Rev. 107. 2018.
Department of Justice. Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in New Asbestos Trust Proposal. Office of Public Affairs. September 2018.
Dixon L, McGovern G and Coombe A. Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts: An Overview of Trust Structure and Activity with Detailed Reports on the Largest Trusts. RAND Institute for Civil Justice. 2010.
Frankel A. DOJ files statement of interest in asbestos bankruptcy, escalates engagement in private cases. Reuters. September 2018.
Frankel A. In latest attack on asbestos trusts, DOJ tries (again) to block lawyer for future claimants. Reuters. December 2018.
Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2017. H.R.906, 115th Congress. 2017.
Plevin MD, Kalish PW and Cusick KR. Where Are They Now, Part Four: A Continuing History Of The Companies That Have Sought Bankruptcy Protection Due To Asbestos Claims. Mealey’s Asbestos Bankruptcy Report. February 2007.
Smith MS. Resolving Asbestos Claims: The Manville Personal Injury Settlement TrustLaw and Contemporary Problems. 1990;53:27-36.
United States Department of Health & Human Services. Glossary of Terms.
United States Government Accountability Office. Asbestos Injury Compensation: The Role and Administration of Asbestos Trusts. September 2011.
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Jennifer Lucarelli Legal Advisor and Contributor
Jennifer Lucarelli is a partner at the law firm of Early, Lucarelli, Sweeney & Meisenkothen, specializing in asbestos litigation. She is a Legal Advisor and Contributor for Mesothelioma.com.
Jennifer Lucarelli Legal Advisor and Contributor
Linda Molinari Editor in Chief
Linda Molinari has more than 15 years of experience as a writer and advocate for mesothelioma patients and a ban on asbestos.
Linda Molinari Editor in Chief
Mesothelioma.com is dedicated to providing the latest medical information on mesothelioma, spreading awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and providing victims with free resources.
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Page last modified on December 20, 2021.

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