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Money Talk: Oct. 9, 2018

October 10, 2018

Gateway News services

We all know about health and dental insurance, but did you know there is a workplace benefit for everyday legal matters that occur throughout life?

Choosing to see an attorney when you buy a home and need someone to represent you at the closing or when you need to handle an issue with a landlord can be a costly endeavor. Rather than trying to wade through complicated legalese on your own or paying thousands of dollars in attorney fees, you may have access to a benefit at work that allows you to see attorneys for common legal issues.

Legal plans are offered at companies across the U.S. as a voluntary benefit you can enroll in during your company’s open enrollment period. Typically, a legal plan costs about $20 per month and is paid via payroll deductions. Once you enroll, you have access to attorneys, as if on retainer, for legal advice and representation for a wide range of issues, from estate planning and real estate issues, to dealing with identity theft or elder care matters.

Here are five reasons a legal plan is a valuable employee benefit.

• More than half (54 percent) of working adults experience a legal event during the course of a year, according to MetLife research. Many people may think they don’t have legal issues, but in reality, legal issues happen every day. From getting married and needing to change your name or updating your will, to buying a home, contesting a traffic ticket or settling a matter with a neighbor, a legal plan provides a wide range of assistance for many common life issues.

• Attorneys charge by the hour, and it’s not cheap. Considering the average hourly rate to see an attorney can range upwards of $300 per hour, according to a National Law Journal and ALM Legal Intelligence survey, it is unaffordable for many people to see an attorney. By enrolling in a legal plan through work, you have access to attorneys for common legal issues with no copays, deductibles or waiting periods.

• You can choose from a network of experienced attorneys. As anyone who has tried to find an attorney can tell you, it’s not always that easy to find a qualified attorney for your legal matter. When you’re enrolled in a legal plan, you have access to customer service representatives who can help you find a qualified attorney to help with your legal matter.

• Your whole family is covered. Similar to health or dental plans, when you enroll in a legal plan, your whole family is covered. But unlike a health plan, with most legal plans you don’t pay extra to cover a spouse or your dependent children. You can use the legal plan to create wills for yourself and your spouse or help your teenage son or daughter contest a traffic ticket or deal with a landlord issue.

• Identity theft coverage is provided at a much lower rate than most services. Most legal plans provide assistance for identity theft issues, giving you access to specialists or attorneys that can resolve ID theft issues for you. Enrolling in a legal plan that has identity theft coverage provides you with one resource for resolving matters you face, and at a much lower rate than most standalone ID theft solutions.

THE LIST

According to the Times Higher Education, the top 10 best universities in the world are:

1. University of Oxford (United Kingdom)

2. University of Cambridge (UK)

3. Stanford University (United States)

4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (U.S.)

5. California Institute of Technology (U.S.)

6. Harvard University (U.S.)

7. Princeton University (U.S.)

8. Yale University (U.S.)

9. Imperial College London (UK)

10. University of Chicago (U.S.)

NUMBER TO KNOW

$15: Online retail giant Amazon recently announced it will pay all of its U.S. workers at least $15 per hour.

TECH TALK

Contact-free student ID cards now available through Apple Wallet: Students at Duke University, the University of Alabama and the University of Oklahoma can now add their student ID card information to the Apple Wallet feature.

Apple recently announced support for the contactless student ID cards and allows students to use their iPhones and Apple Watches to access university facilities or pay for food and laundry without having to physically have the ID card. Apple also announced the ID card support for students at Johns Hopkins University, Santa Clara University and Temple University by the end of the current school year.

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