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EMPLOYEE BENEFITS / ERISA

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS / ERISA

Employee Benefits involves many disciplines. Transactions, such as the purchase or sale of a business, or the drafting of a will or estate plan, often raise employee benefits questions. To understand all of the consequences of a benefits decision, an attorney must have a working knowledge of benefit plan design and operation, accounting practices, employment relations, income taxation, and retirement and succession planning.

The Employee Benefits Practice Group is fully versed in the complex set of rules that regulate the employee benefits area as set forth under ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended) and the Internal Revenue Code. We routinely advise clients with regard to the design, implementation, and administration of employee retirement, welfare, and fringe benefit plans.

Often, employers must choose from a complex array of qualified (tax-favored) and non-qualified retirement and deferred compensation plans. Our expertise covers all aspects of retirement plans, including qualified and non-qualified pension and profit sharing plans such as 401(k) plans, ESOPs, and “age weighted” plans; cafeteria and “flex” plans; welfare benefit plans; and “Top Hat” and other executive compensation plans. As independent advisors, we help our clients evaluate plan designs so that they can choose the benefit plan best suited to their needs and budgets.

We guide our clients with regard to regulatory compliance and assist those clients facing compliance issues, often employing the government provided correction programs, EPCRS (IRS’s correction program) and VFC (the Department of Labor’s correction program). We have represented clients before the IRS, DOL and PBGC in audits involving qualified plans, welfare benefit plans and other compliance issues.

We have extensive experience advising clients, at both the employer level and the participant level, with regard to the drafting and approval of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs).

Our Employee Benefits Practice Group works closely with the Business Transactions and Mergers and Acquisitions Practice Groups to advise clients of the benefits issues involved with mergers as well as stock and asset transactions.

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