Mesothelioma & Asbestos Trust Funds

A mesothelioma trust fund is designed to compensate victims of asbestos exposure by negligent asbestos companies that are now insolvent.  Asbestos trust funds protect mesothelioma victims and ensure compensation is available for present and future claims. A mesothelioma fund is available when an asbestos company files for bankruptcy.

Legally Reviewed By: Maura Kolb
Managing Attorney | Asbestos and Mesothelioma Trust Funds & Resolution

Legally Reviewed By: Maura Kolb
Managing Attorney | Asbestos and Mesothelioma Trust Funds & Resolution

Play Video about Maura Kolb - Asbestos & Mesothelioma Trust Funds

Maura Kolb (00:00):
My name is Maura Kolb. I am a managing attorney here at The Lanier Law Firm. In particular, I manage the Asbestos Resolution Group.

In terms of my world and what my team and I do, our clients are victims of companies that went into bankruptcy because of their liabilities and are now being compensated pennies on the dollar. There are dozens of companies that over the years have gone out of business because of the many claims against them. Their companies made products that were dangerous, they put those products out on the market. Our clients and so many other thousands of men and women across the country were exposed to dangerous products for decades. A lot of the companies out there that today manufacture asbestos products or did in the past, knew that their products contained asbestos and that asbestos was very dangerous, that it could cause lung diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer, other forms of cancer, and probably most seriously mesothelioma. It’s a horrible disease. It’s one that could have been prevented likely without the use of those products on the market, or making sure that people that used the products used proper respirators.

Where I’m sitting, companies should pay for the liabilities that they create. Anytime a client used an asbestos product in their home and dust was created, then they were exposed to asbestos in their home. For most trusts, we only have to prove they were exposed to the dust from an asbestos product, and unfortunately, we can’t give anybody their health back. So what we try to do is get compensation.


Asbestos trust funds provide compensation to eligible individuals with asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma. According to the Rand Corporation, 730,000 asbestos exposure victims filed lawsuits against asbestos companies who had negligently exposed them to asbestos from the early 1970s through the end of 2002, and these numbers are rising.

Mesothelioma victims are not always eligible for asbestos trust fund proceeds, nor are trust funds the only method by which victims can receive compensation. The Lanier Law Firm is a nationwide law firm with extensive experience in asbestos litigation. We help our clients identify all responsible parties and obtain maximum compensation for mesothelioma through every means available.

What is an asbestos trust fund?

The dangers of exposure to asbestos and asbestos-containing products were recognized as far back as the 1930s, and by the 1950s, many asbestos manufacturers and employers were aware of the dangers of asbestos products but failed to provide workers with warnings or protective measures. Many companies actively concealed this information, knowingly subjecting their workers to years of daily exposure to a highly hazardous product.

Since asbestos-related illnesses often have a latency period of 20 to 50 years, workers were unaware of the danger until large numbers of them became ill with mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, or other asbestos diseases. As vast numbers of injured workers filed mesothelioma lawsuits against the negligent companies, these companies quickly became overwhelmed with their liabilities.

Facing insolvency, the companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcies. The companies were court-ordered to set aside monies to compensate future asbestos claimants through trust funds set up as part of their reorganization under the Chapter 11 bankruptcy code. The purpose of the asbestos bankruptcy trusts was to ensure mesothelioma compensation would be available for present and future claims.

Chapter 11 U.S. Code § 524(g) establishes these funds as a no-fault system that protects the companies from asbestos lawsuits. This helps to ensure enough money will be available for future victims.

Trust Funds

Lanier Law Firm Managing Attorney of Asbestos Resolution Maura Kolb compiled a list of the asbestos bankruptcy trust funds to date:

How do trust funds help mesothelioma victims?

Mesothelioma trust fund claims provide asbestos victims a means to access compensation sooner and with fewer uncertainties when compared to filing a lawsuit.

Filing a Mesothelioma Trust Fund Claim

Every trust fund has its own procedures for filing claims. You will need to provide specific information to prove you are eligible to file a claim for each trust. Most trusts give you a choice between a standard or expedited review process. The skilled mesothelioma lawyers at The Lanier Law Firm are familiar with the procedures of individual asbestos trusts and can handle the entire process for you.


The following criteria must be met for claimants to be eligible to receive trust fund proceeds:

  • Exposure to asbestos fibers through the fault of the company for whom the trust was set up, including second-hand exposure experienced by family members when workers carried asbestos fibers home on their clothing
  • A confirmed medical diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness

Documentation You Will Need

You will need to provide the following:

Medical records that verify your condition

Each trust has slightly different documentation requirements. Our asbestos lawyers can gather the required documentation on your behalf and ensure it meets the trust’s criteria for access to the mesothelioma funds.

Steps to File a Claim

Most mesothelioma trust funds provide websites where asbestos victims can file claims and upload documents. Most funds also allow claimants to choose between a standard or expedited claim process. The type of claim you choose could impact the amount of compensation you receive. It is best to obtain legal advice from a qualified mesothelioma lawyer before choosing this option.

How much can I expect to receive from an asbestos trust fund payout?

Asbestos trust fund compensation can be substantial. Compensation is determined by the severity of the illness, age at diagnosis and expected lifespan. Mesothelioma trust fund payouts can occur as lump sums or monthly payments.

There is currently an estimated
available through the trust funds.

As increasing numbers of victims come forward, some asbestos trusts adjusted compensation to ensure funds are available for all victims.

These adjustments are made by designating a payment percentage of the claim value. These adjustments can limit the amount of money you recover. Some funds pay 35 percent, 20 percent or even less of the claim value.

This can result in claimants not receiving sufficient financial assistance to meet their needs. However, many claimants have multiple sources of exposure and may have additional legal options for obtaining the financial compensation they need and deserve. Maura Kolb and our team of experienced mesothelioma trust fund attorneys can help you navigate this complicated application process for access to mesothelioma funds.

Can I file more than one asbestos trust fund claim?

Asbestos exposure victims are eligible to file claims for the mesothelioma trust funds of all the companies that exposed them to asbestos. Claimants who have multiple trust claims will be required to disclose this information to each trust, and compensation could be reduced, or set back. This ensures each trust pays only for each company’s percentage of fault for each claim.

Can I file a trust claim and a lawsuit?

Companies that set up asbestos trust funds do so under the Chapter 11 bankruptcy code, which protects them from asbestos-related lawsuits. No one can file an asbestos-related lawsuit against these companies. The only means to receive compensation from these companies is through mesothelioma trust fund claims.

However, trust fund claimants are not barred from filing lawsuits against companies that do not have Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In some jurisdictions, receipt of compensation from trust funds could impact your award in a mesothelioma lawsuit, but this is not always the case.

One of the functions of a qualified mesothelioma attorney is ensuring lawsuits are filed in a venue that serves the client’s best interests.

Are proceeds from a mesothelioma trust fund taxable?

Proceeds from a mesothelioma trust fund are generally not taxable. Under Chapter 26 U.S. Code § 104, compensatory proceeds from personal injury claims are not taxable. Punitive damages are taxable but are not common in mesothelioma trust fund claims.

How long do I have to file an asbestos trust fund claim?

Unlike tort claims governed by state law, the statute of limitations for trust fund claims is determined by each trust. The time limit is generally two or three years after the mesothelioma diagnosis.

Can family members file mesothelioma trust fund claims?

Mesothelioma victims can rest assured that their loved ones will be taken care of in the event of their death, no matter where they are in the claims process.

Immediate family members are entitled to file wrongful death trust fund claims after the death of the victim in the event the victim has not already filed a claim. Family members can continue claims filed by a mesothelioma victim who passed away before the process was finished. Additionally, families of claimants who receive monthly payouts from mesothelioma funds can continue receiving trust fund payments beyond the death of the claimant.

Do I need a mesothelioma lawyer to help me file a trust fund claim?

In addition to the pain and suffering brought on by the illness, mesothelioma victims face financial strain when they are unable to continue earning an income. This can cause a loss of insurance at a time when you need it the most.

Under these circumstances, navigating the legal system, gathering documentation and trying to understand all the legal options can be overwhelming.

Some victims are surprised to learn they were exposed to asbestos and are unaware of how or when the exposure took place. Even if you are aware of a time when you were exposed, you may have had additional exposures.

Experienced asbestos lawyers are familiar with the companies and circumstances that precipitate exposure to asbestos fibers. The Lanier Law Firm’s mesothelioma attorneys can also take over the role of gathering documents and figuring out legal processes and options, including aiding in the determination of how and when you were exposed to asbestos products.

Why should I choose The Lanier Law Firm to handle my asbestos trust fund claim?

The Lanier Law Firm is a nationwide mesothelioma law firm with offices in New York City, Los Angeles and Houston. Our firm was established in 1990 with a compassionate and individualized approach to client care. Over the past 32 years, we have grown to a staff of more than 50 respected, award-winning attorneys.

Our attorneys are among the most qualified asbestos attorneys in the world. Many have been invited to speak at conferences and lead conventions about asbestos claims. We are well-known in the legal community for our litigation skills as well as our dedicated and sometimes non-traditional litigation methods.

Led by founder Mark Lanier, our creativity and relentlessness are rooted in our strong desire to obtain the compensation our clients need and to hold accountable those who carelessly harm others. When victims of asbestos exposure come to us, we obtain a detailed life and work history so we can identify all sources of asbestos exposure and pursue maximum compensation.

Trust claim cases are time-sensitive. Don’t wait to contact an attorney if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related condition. We offer a free individual review and only charge a fee when we win you compensation.

Dwana Waltman, Maura Kolb, Sam Taylor, Darron Berquist, Mark Lanier, and our extensive team of mesothelioma lawyers and asbestos trust fund attorneys are here to help you and your family navigate the complex path to obtaining mesothelioma funds and compensation.

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