24-707. Death of judge; benefits spouse entitled to receive; contributions paid to beneficiary; when; direct transfer to retirement plan; death while performing qualified military service; additional death benefit.

(1) In the event of the death of a judge prior to retirement, if such judge shall have had five or more years of creditable service, the surviving spouse of such judge shall at his or her option, exercised within twelve months after the date of death, be immediately entitled to receive an annuity which shall be equal to the amount that would have accrued to the member had he or she elected to have the retirement annuity paid as a one-hundred-percent joint and survivor annuity payable as long as either the member or the member's spouse should survive and had the member retired (a) on the date of death if his or her age at death is sixty-five years or more or (b) at age sixty-five years if his or her age at death is less than sixty-five years. If such option is not exercised by such surviving spouse within twelve months after the judge's death, if there is no surviving spouse, or if the judge has not served for five years, then the beneficiary, or the estate if the judge has not filed a statement with the board naming a beneficiary, shall be paid a lump sum equal to all contributions to the fund made by such judge plus regular interest.

(2) In the event of the death of a judge subsequent to retirement, if such judge has not filed a statement of intent with the board to elect to receive any other form of annuity which may be provided for by section 24-710 or elected to make contributions and receive benefits as provided in section 24-703.03, the amount of annuities such judge has received under the provisions of the Judges Retirement Act shall be computed and, if such amount shall be less than the contributions to the fund made by such judge, plus regular interest, the difference shall be paid to the beneficiary or estate.

(3) Benefits to which the surviving spouse, beneficiary, or estate of a judge shall be entitled shall commence immediately upon the death of such judge.

(4) A lump-sum death benefit paid to the member's beneficiary, other than the member's estate, that is an eligible distribution may be distributed in the form of a direct transfer to a retirement plan eligible to receive such transfer under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

(5) For any member whose death occurs on or after January 1, 2007, while performing qualified military service as defined in section 414(u) of the Internal Revenue Code, the member's beneficiary shall be entitled to any additional death benefit that would have been provided, other than the accrual of any benefit relating to the period of qualified military service. The additional death benefit shall be determined as if the member had returned to employment with the State of Nebraska and such employment had terminated on the date of the member's death.

Source:Laws 1955, c. 83, § 7, p. 248; Laws 1973, LB 478, § 1; Laws 1974, LB 905, § 5; Laws 1975, LB 298, § 1; Laws 1977, LB 344, § 4; Laws 1983, LB 223, § 2; Laws 1986, LB 92, 4; Laws 1989, LB 506, § 5; Laws 1994, LB 833, § 20; Laws 1996, LB 1273, § 20; Laws 1997, LB 624, § 12; Laws 2000, LB 1192, § 7; Laws 2003, LB 451, § 15; Laws 2004, LB 1097, § 13; Laws 2007, LB508, § 1; Laws 2012, LB916, § 15.