In re Estate of Chennisi

Ms. Newman appealed from the order that overruled her objection to including an award from the September 11th Victim’s Compensation Fund (“VCF”) as an asset of her deceased husband’s estate. The orphans’ court held that the VCF award was an estate asset and should be distributed as any other asset. The Pennsylvania Superior Court held that “the unambiguous meaning of 20 Pa.C.S. § 2102(2) is that a surviving spouse is entitled to 100% of any compensation award paid under the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act [ATSSSA], including awards paid under all amendments and supplements to the ATSSSA.” Therefore, “the VCF award to the decedent was an award paid pursuant to the ATSSSA to which Ms. Newman is entitled to 100%.” Concerning the distribution of the VCF award, “20 Pa.C.S. § 2102(2) does not exempt the award from being an estate asset or require the direct payment of the VCF award to Ms. Newman outside of the distribution of the estate.”

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