Questions Linger Regarding Aaron Hernandez's NFL Pension

In the wake of Aaron Hernandez’s suicide, more and more questions are being raised about the millions of dollars that could now be due to his 4-year-old daughter Avielle and some of his victims.

“There’s an awful lot of people claiming an awful lot of money from the estate,” said NBC Boston legal analyst Michael Coyne.

Coyne says now that Hernandez’s convictions stand to be vacated, his attorneys could pursue the more than $5 million in guaranteed base salary and signing bonuses from his contract with the Patriots that reportedly wasn’t paid out after his arrest.

But Coyne says the team’s attorneys will likely fight that.

Coyne said, “The fact that he is no longer a convicted murderer doesn’t mean he didn’t commit the acts, and that in and of itself, may violate the morals clause.”

There’s also Hernandez’s pension. Hernandez is vested in his pension because he played three seasons for the Patriots.

It would be distributed under the “Widow’s and Surviving Children’s Benefit.”

Hernandez’s daughter would get $9,000 per month for the first four years, then $4,400 per month until age 19 – or age 23 if she enrolls in college.

Coyne says pension and retirement benefits often have special treatment under the law.

Coyne said, “Under those circumstances it would pass outside the estate, free from the claims of these creditors.”

So even without the contract money, from just the pension pay out, Hernandez’s daughter could receive more than $1.4 million. 

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