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One-Year Old Receives Survivor Benefits With Pro Bono Attorney Help

January 29, 2016

A sailor passed away on active duty and was survived by his fiancée and their one-year old daughter. Due to the sailor’s death, the child was entitled to survivor benefits; however, until a guardianship of an estate was established for her by her mother, the sailor’s daughter was unable to receive any compensation from the Navy. Unfortunately, because the mother was not yet married to the deceased servicemember, she was ineligible for military legal assistance services and therefore required the assistance of a civilian attorney to establish guardianship of her daughter’s estate. The ABA Military Pro Bono Project was able to refer the mother to a pro bono attorney who specializes in guardianships, is a distinguished Naval veteran herself and who is dedicated to serving military families. Soon after the referral, the volunteer attorney filed a guardianship petition and arranged for the appointment of a guardian ad litem who quickly issued a report to the court. One month thereafter, the mother was appointed guardianship of her daughter’s estate and she will finally be able to receive entitled benefits on behalf of her daughter. In addition, the pro bono attorney has prepared the mother to represent herself in submitting required reports to the court going forward.

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