ERISA and Employee Pensions

ERISA and Employee Pensions

Tristate ERISA and Pension Attorney

Companies are not only in the business of producing goods or providing services, they are usually also in the business of employing people, and that is no small task. The employer-employee relationship is heavily regulated by state and federal laws and regulations with retirement issues being among the most complicated and risk-sensitive. The changing landscape of business and industry over the last several decades has shined a brighter light on retirement matters, which means businesses in West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), and Ohio (OH) are in more need than ever of a tristate ERISA and pension attorney.

ERISA: A Tristate ERISA and Pension Attorney’s Main Focus 

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and its implementing regulations are the primary sources of control over employers’ treatment of employee retirement plans. The Act does not mandate that employers offer pension plans; it only governs how employers manage plans once they are established and sets forth rights for employees participating in those plans. ERISA and its regulations are frequently litigated across the country, resulting in a continual need for ERISA attorneys to stay current on court decisions and changing laws or regulations.

What Can a Tristate ERISA and Pension Attorney Do for Employers?

A company may administer its own pension plan or hire a third party administrator (TPA) to do so. In either case, a competent ERISA employer attorney is a must. There are simply too many legal requirements and too much risk associated with pension plan administration to do it without the assistance of a competent ERISA attorney.

Even if a TPA is hired to perform the function, the employer sponsoring the pension plan is responsible for compliance with relevant legal standards. A TPA is an agent of the employer and can therefore create liability. For companies in WV, KY, and OH sponsoring retirement plans, a reliable tristate ERISA and pension attorney can minimize the risk of plan liability arising from the actions of those acting for the company and the TPA.

A tristate ERISA attorney will help companies establish and maintain retirement plans in any type of retirement plan. Jenkins Fenstermaker ERISA and pension attorneys are well-versed in the following retirement plan types:

  • Defined benefit;
  • Defined contribution;
  • Individual retirement accounts;
  • 401(k) and 403(b) plans;
  • Employee stock ownership plans;
  • Simplified employee pension plans;
  • Profit-sharing plans; and
  • Stock bonus plans. 

In addition, our experienced pension attorneys have in-depth knowledge of the requirements and workings of ERISA, Internal Revenue Service requirements, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

Pension Attorneys and Risk Management

Pension matters are replete with legal risk. The fiduciary responsibility of an employer is first and foremost, but a failure to meet that responsibility can be difficult to anticipate or recognize. An experienced ERISA attorney can anticipate problems in the making and help reduce risk and avoid litigation.

Communication with employees is also critical to meeting ERISA requirements and avoiding liability. Failing to make required notices or providing flawed communications can result in claims for damages—sometimes after years of liability have accumulated. An ERISA pension attorney is best suited to ensure compliance and avoid problems.

Pension plan administration is also affected by other risk-potential areas of law, such as family and estate law. Because pension plan benefits are a financial asset, they are subject to legal proceedings such as divorce and estate distribution. Pension attorneys understand the requirements placed on plan administration by qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) and estate-related court orders. 

Headquartered in Huntington and with offices in Clarksburg and Teays Valley, Jenkins Fenstermaker is your source for a tristate ERISA and pension attorney in WV, KY, or OH. Contact us today at (304) 523-2100 (or (866) 617-4763 toll free), or through our online contact form.