Mesothelioma trust funds are created during bankruptcy proceedings by negligent companies. The purpose is to pay out asbestos claims to mesothelioma cancer patients and their families. There are currently more than 65 asbestos trust funds with over $30 billion set aside.

01. Mesothelioma Trust Fund

What Is a Mesothelioma Trust Fund?

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.

Why Were Asbestos Trusts Created?

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.

Bankruptcy Types and Asbestos Companies

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy (liquidation bankruptcy) required asbestos companies to sell all assets. The courts then distributed money from these assets to victims.
  • Chapter 11 bankruptcy (reorganization bankruptcy) permitted asbestos companies to reorganize and remain in business. These companies created trust funds.

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-Picher and UNARCO have the longest-standing asbestos trusts. The number of companies completing court proceedings and establishing active trusts continues to grow.

02. Compensation From Trusts

Compensation From Mesothelioma Trust Funds

Asbestos victims and loved ones can file a trust fund claim to receive compensation.

How Trust Fund Compensation Helps

  • Helps pay for treatment and associated travel expenses
  • Replaces lost income when a patient can no longer work
  • Provides financial security for patients and their families

The asbestos trust fund landscape fluctuates each year, depending on how payment percentages are adjusted, how many claims are filed and if new trusts are created. In 2010, the RAND Institute for Civil Justice reported the median scheduled value for asbestos trust claims was $126,000. Values may vary across trusts and disease types. The same report found the scheduled value ranged from $7,000 to $1.2 million.

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.

Mesothelioma Fund Eligibility Requirements

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.

Who Can File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim?

  • Victims of exposure later diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness may be able to file a claim.
  • Family members of a victim who has died from an asbestos-related illness may be able to file a claim.
  • If an individual is too ill to file, a family member or attorney may be able to file a claim on their behalf.

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.

How Much Is the Average Asbestos Trust Fund Payout?

The amount of compensation a claimant receives from a trust fund varies. Factors that may influence the payout amount include:

  • Type of asbestos diagnosis
  • Initial payment schedule of the trust fund
  • Current payment percentage

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.

What Is an Asbestos Trust Fund Payment Percentage?

Each trust fund has a payment schedule and percentage to ensure continued payouts. Scheduled values determine how much each trust will pay for certain diseases. For example, the W.R. Grace trust has a scheduled value of $180,000 for stage 4 mesothelioma. The payment percentage, which may change over time, is then applied to the scheduled value. The W.R. Grace trust’s payment percentage is currently 31.7%, so a stage four mesothelioma patient could receive $57,060.

The payment percentage can increase or decrease. Changes are based on the number of claims the trust has budgeted for versus how many claims received 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.

  • If a payment percentage increases, claimants previously paid at a lower percentage will receive an additional payment for the difference.
  • If a payment percentage decreases, claimants previously paid at a higher percentage will keep the full payment amount.

How Much Money Is Left in Asbestos Trust Funds?

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.

Asbestos victims may be concerned trust funds will run out of money and stop making payments. This concern arises from the following circumstances:

  • Companies are no longer in business
  • Bankruptcy proceedings based initial funding amounts on estimates that were too low
  • Some companies put as little money into their trust funds as possible
  • The number of asbestos victims and trust claims continues to increase

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.

03. List of Asbestos Trusts

Asbestos Trust Fund List

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

Company Asbestos Trust Fund Created Initial Funding
A-Best Products A-Best Asbestos Settlement Trust 2004 $18 million
A. P. Green Industries APG Asbestos Trust 2014 $333 million
A.B.B. Global Inc. Lummus 524(g) Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2006 $38 million
Abex Corporation Pneumo Abex Asbestos Claims Settlement Trust 2011 $307.5 million
ACandS, Inc. ACandS Asbestos Settlement Trust 2008 $528 million
API, Inc. API, Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust 2006 $94 million
Armstrong World Industries Armstrong World Industries, Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust 2006 $2.06 billion
ARTRA Group, Inc. ARTRA 524(g) Asbestos Trust 2007 $74 million
Asarco, Inc. ASARCO LLC Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust 2009 $830 million
Asbestos Claims Management Corp./ National Gypsum Company NGC Bodily Injury Trust 1993 $446 million
Babcock & Wilcox Company Babcock & Wilcox Asbestos Trust 2006 $1.85 billion
Bondex Bondex Trust 2016 $797.5 million
Burns & Roe Enterprises, Inc. Burns & Roe Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust 2009 $172 million
C.E. Thurston & Sons C.E. Thurston & Sons, Inc. Asbestos Trust 2006 $53 million
Celotex Corporation/ Carey Canada, Inc. Celotex Asbestos Settlement Trust 1997 $1.25 billion
Combustion Engineering Combustion Engineering 524(g) Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2006 $1.24 billion
Congoleum Corporation Congoleum Plan Trust 2010 $270 million
Daimler Chrysler Not yet established ??? ???
DII Industries, LLC (Dresser Industries) DII Industries, LLC Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2005 $2.51 billion
Durabla Not yet established ??? ???
Eagle-Picher Corporation Eagle-Picher Industries Personal Injury Settlement Trust 1996 $730 million
E.J. Bartells Company Bartells Asbestos Settlement Trust 2001 $20 million
Federal Mogul Corp. Federal Mogul U.S. Asbestos Personal Injury 2007 $690 million
Ferodo Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – Ferodo Subfund 2011 $635 million
Flexitallic Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – Flexitallic Subfund 2011 $635 million
Flintkote Co./ Flintkote Mines Ltd. Flintkote Company and Flintkote Mines Limited Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2015 $214 million
Garlock Not yet established ??? ???
General Motors MLC Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2012 $625 million
G-I Holdings G-1 Asbestos Settlement Trust 2009 $770 million
Hercules Chemical Hercules Chemical Company, Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust 2011 $8.6 million
H. K. Porter Co., Inc. H. K. Porter Asbestos Trust 1998 n/a
J. T. Thorpe (C.D. Cal.) J.T. Thorpe Settlement Trust 2006 $154 million
J. T. Thorpe (S.D. Tex.) J.T. Thorpe Company Successor Trust 2004 $232 million
Johns-Manville Corp./ Philadelphia Asbestos Corp. (Pacor) Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust 1988 $2.5 billion
Kaiser Aluminum Corp. Kaiser Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2006 $1.22 billion
Kaiser Gypsum Not yet Established ??? ???
Keene Corp. Keene Creditors Trust 1996 $45 million
Kentile Metex Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2015 $193 million
Leslie Controls Leslie Controls, Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2011
MacArthur Co./ Western Asbestos Company Western Asbestos Settlement Trust 2004 $2 billion
Maremont Corporation Maremont Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2019 $28 million
North American Refractories Co. (NARCO) North American Refractories Company Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust 2013 $420 million
Owens Corning Owens Corning Fibreboard Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – Owens Corning Subfund 2006 $3.42 billion
Owens Corning/ Fibreboard Corp. Owens Corning Fibreboard Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2006 $1.56 billion
Owens-Illinois, Inc. Paddock Enterprises LLC 524(g) Asbestos Trust 2022 $610 million
Pittsburgh Corning Pittsburgh Corning Corporation Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2013 $3.41 billion
Plant Insulation Company Plant Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust 2012 $242.8 million
Plibrico Co. Plibrico Asbestos Trust 2006 $206 million
Porter-Hayden Co. Porter Hayden Bodily Injury Trust 2006 <$1 million
Quigley Co. Quigley Company, Inc. Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2013 $569 million
Raymark Corp./ Raytech Corp. Raytech Corporation Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust 2000 n/a
Shook & Fletcher Insulation Co. Shook & Fletcher Asbestos Settlement Trust 2002 $109 million
T. H. Agriculture & Nutrition T. H. Agriculture & Nutrition, LLC Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2009 $901 million
Thorpe Insulation Co./ Pacific Insulation Co. Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust 2006 $389 million
Turner & Newall Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust – Turner & Newall Subfund 2007 $635 million
United Gilsonite Not yet established ??? ???
United States Gypsum Co./ USG Corp. United States Gypsum Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust 2006 $3.96 billion
United States Mineral Products United States Mineral Products Company Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust 2005 $8 million
UNR Industries, Inc./ Unarco Industries, Inc. UNR Asbestos-Disease Claims Trust 1990 n/a
W.R. Grace & Co. WRG Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2014 $2.98 billion
Yarway Yarway Asbestos Personal Injury Trust 2016 $325 million

04. Filing a Trust Fund Claim

How to File an Asbestos Trust Fund Claim

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.

Do You Need an Attorney to File a Mesothelioma Trust Fund Claim?

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.

Step 1: Understanding Trust Fund Criteria

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:

  • Date of asbestos exposure
  • Workplace(s) where exposure occurred
  • Proof of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related diagnosis, such as asbestosis
  • Information about the asbestos products that led to the exposure

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.

Mesothelioma Claim Deadlines

Personal Injury Claims
  • Filed by the asbestos victim
  • Victim must file within a certain number of years after a mesothelioma diagnosis
Wrongful Death Claims
  • Filed by the family member of an asbestos victim
  • Claimant must file within a certain number of years after a mesothelioma death

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.

Step 2: Gathering Evidence

A mesothelioma lawyer will help gather the evidence needed to establish a case. Lawyers may present the following information during a case:

  • Employment records
  • Military service records
  • Union membership records
  • Medical records, including diagnosis
  • Witness testimony or affidavits

If patients have already prepared a lawsuit, that evidence may be used to file a trust fund claim.

Step 3: Filing a Trust 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:

  • Submitting paper documentation
  • Uploading documentation through an online website

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.

Step 4: Review of Trust Claim

After filing a claim, the trust fund administrators will review all submission materials. There are two primary methods of review for trust fund claims.

Expedited Review

  • The individual is grouped with other related claims (of the same “disease level” or disease type) and assigned a fixed payment.
  • General information is collected, such as proof of exposure and invoices.
  • Does not take the extent of disease or level of exposure into account but may result in quicker payment.

Individual Review

  • The individual receives individual consideration for their claim.
  • Multiple factors are taken into consideration, such as the number of dependents.
  • The payout could be higher or lower than with an expedited review.

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.

Step 5: Negotiation and Payment of a Trust Claim

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.

Are Trust Fund Payments Taxable?

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.

05. Trust Fund vs. Lawsuit

Filing a Trust Fund Claim vs. Mesothelioma Lawsuit

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.

Trust Fund Claim vs. Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Trust Fund Claim
  • Victims file a claim against a specific trust fund.
  • Claimants must meet trust fund eligibility requirements.
  • Claims must go through review and approval.
  • Compensation is subject to trust fund payout percentages.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit
  • Victims file a claim against asbestos manufacturers for wrongful exposure.
  • The claimant may reach a settlement to avoid further court proceedings.
  • If the case goes to trial, claimants may pursue a jury verdict.
  • Lawsuits may have a higher payout but often take more time.

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.

Can Trust Fund Claims Impact Lawsuits?

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.

06. The FACT Act

The FACT Act and Tort Reform

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 and Confidentiality

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 time frame 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.

DOJ Trust Fund Concerns

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 regard to asbestos trust fund handling:

  • Lack of trust fund accountability and transparency
  • Lack of safeguards against claim fraud and abuse
  • Inconsistent evidence across multiple claims
  • Contradictory claims against multiple trust funds
  • Lack of protection for legitimate claimants to receive compensation

The DOJ has taken action to address mismanagement. Measures include:

  • In early September 2018, the DOJ filed a Statement of Interest against the Kaiser Gypsum trust fund. The statement targeted inadequate safeguards to protect against trust fund mismanagement and fraud.
  • In late September 2018, the DOJ rejected the appointee for Duro Dyne’s trust. The DOJ felt he could not adequately represent the interest of future claimants based on his history with trust funds.

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.

07. Common Questions

Common Questions About Asbestos Trust Funds

How many asbestos trust funds are there?

There are about 65 asbestos trust funds. This number may vary as funds close or new ones open.

Is there a limit to how many asbestos trust funds I can apply to?

No. You can file a claim with any company’s trust whose products you have been exposed to.

What fees will be taken out of my trust fund settlement?

Generally, your attorney will receive the same percentage of a trust fund settlement that you agreed to when their services were retained. However, there are some trust funds that have a maximum attorney fee of 25%.

How long is the claim review process?

This can vary greatly between certain trusts. Some trusts can take as little as one to two weeks to approve a claim. Many take one to three months and some can take as long as six months to one year. Generally, most trusts will expedite the process for living claimants.

Are payments from asbestos trust funds taxable?

Your settlement is not taxable, due to the compensatory nature of asbestos trusts fund settlements.