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You're more likely to need legal services than to be hospitalized. Yet, most people have medical insurance, but have no plans to overcome legal risks. That's why PersonalPlans Advisor has teamed up with Mercer Voluntary Benefits and Hyatt Legal Plans to bring you this Legal Services Plan.

A Legal Services Plan gives you and your family access to legal advice and professional legal representation at an affordable price, through a voluntary, after-tax payroll deduction. You can obtain services from attorneys in much the same way as you do from the doctors who participate in your medical plan. Most legal plans rely on a network of participating attorneys in private practice or participating law firms to provide covered services.

For only $15.00 a month you can have a lawyer on your side.

  • Do you want the courts to decide who will be the guardian of your children? That can happen if you die without naming a guardian in your will.
  • Have you ever had problems with a landlord? Having a lawyer on your side protects your rights as a tenant.
  • If you were in a coma due to an illness or accident, would your family or doctor know your wishes regarding medical care? A living will lets you do this.

For just pennies a day, the Legal Services Plan gives you your own "attorney on retainer". Your Legal Services Plan lets you pick up the phone and call a lawyer for quick advice.

One of the most important features of this benefit is that the plan fully covers telephone advice and office consultations. This means you can talk to or visit with your Network Attorney at any time some event in your life creates legal concerns.

Legal issues arise when you get married, have a baby, buy or sell your home or lose a spouse/same-sex domestic partner or a parent.

Typically, lawyers would charge $100 to $500 to prepare a will (double the cost if your spouse/same-sex domestic partner needs a will). Clearly, the value of participating in the plan is tremendous.

 

DISCLAIMER: These are voluntary benefit plans that Johns Hopkins University makes available to its employees through Mercer Voluntary Benefits. Johns Hopkins University does not contribute to any policy or service offered under the program. For those offerings that involve individual policies, Johns Hopkins University's responsibilities are limited to coordinating payroll deductions for premium payment and your contract for coverage will be with each insurance company or plan provider. For those offerings that involve group coverage, Johns Hopkins University's responsibilities are governed pursuant to the appropriate Master Policy provisions. You are under no obligation to purchase any of the voluntary policies or services offered through this site; you are also free to explore other options including purchase of policies or services directly from an insurance company or provider.

WHAT SERVICES ARE COVERED

You and your eligible dependents are entitled to receive certain personal legal services. The available benefits are very comprehensive, but there are limitations and other conditions that must be met. Please take time to read the description of benefits carefully. All benefits are available to you and your spouse/same-sex domestic partner and dependents, who are referred to below as Participant(s), unless otherwise noted.

ADVICE AND CONSULTATION

Office Consultation and Telephone Advice
This service provides the opportunity to discuss with an attorney any personal legal problems that are not specifically excluded. The Plan Attorney will explain the Participant's rights, point out his or her options and recommend a course of action. The Plan Attorney will identify any further coverage available under the Plan, and will undertake representation if the Participant so requests. If representation is covered by the Plan, the Participant will not be charged for the Plan Attorney's services. If representation is recommended but is not covered by the plan, the Plan Attorney will provide a written fee statement in advance. The Participant may choose whether to retain the Plan Attorney at his or her own expense, seek outside counsel, or do nothing. There are no restrictions on the number of times per year a Participant may use this service. However, for a non-covered matter, this service is not intended to provide the Participant with continuing access to a Plan Attorney in order to seek advice that would allow the Participant to undertake his or her own representation.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

Personal Property Protection
This service covers the counseling the Participant receives over the phone or in the office on any personal property issue such as consumer credit reports, contracts for the purchase of personal property, consumer credit agreements, or installment sales agreements. Counseling on pursuing or defending small claims actions is also included. The service also includes reviewing any personal legal documents and preparing promissory notes, affidavits, and demand letters.

Consumer Protection Matters
This service covers the Participant as a plaintiff, for representation, including trial, in disputes over consumer goods and services where the amount being contested exceeds the small claims court limit in that jurisdiction. The controversy must be evidenced by a written document such as a sales slip, contract, note or warranty. This service does not include disputes over real estate, construction, insurance, or collection activities after a judgment.

Small Claims Assistance
This service covers counseling the Participant on prosecuting a small claims action; helping the Participant prepare documents; advising the Participant on evidence, documentation and witnesses; and preparing the Participant for trial. The service does not include the Plan Attorney's attendance or representation at the small claims trial, collection activities after a judgment, or any services relating to post-judgment actions.

IMMIGRATION

Immigration Assistance
This service covers advice and consultation, preparation of affidavits and powers of attorney, review of any immigration documents and helping the Participant prepare for hearings.

DEBT MATTERS

Debt Collection Defense
This service provides Participants with an attorney's services for negotiation with creditors for a repayment schedule; and to limit creditor harassment, and representation in defense of any action for personal debt collection, tax agency debt collection, foreclosure, repossession or garnishment, up to and including trial if necessary. It does not include vacating a judgment; counter, cross or third-party claims; bankruptcy; any action arising out of family law matters, including support and post-decree issues; or any matter where the creditor is affiliated with the Plan Member's Sponsor or Employer.

Identity Theft Defense
This service provides Participants with consultations with an attorney regarding potential creditor actions resulting from identity theft, and attorney services as needed to contact creditors, credit bureaus and financial institutions. It also provides defense services for specific creditor actions over disputed accounts as set forth in the Debt Collection Defense coverage. The defense services include limiting creditor harassment and representation in defense of any action that arises out of the identity theft such as foreclosure, repossession or garnishment, up to and including trial if necessary. In addition, it provides Participants with online help and information about Identity Theft and prevention. It does not include counter, cross or third party claims; bankruptcy; any action arising our of family law matters, including support and post-decree issues; or any matter where the creditor is affiliated with the Sponsor or Employer.

Personal Bankruptcy or Wage Earner Plan
This service covers the Plan Member and spouse/domestic partner in pre-bankruptcy planning, the preparation and filing of a personal bankruptcy or Wage Earner petition, and representation at all court hearings and trials. This service is not available if a creditor is affiliated with the Plan Member's Sponsor or Employer, even if the Plan Member or spouse/domestic partner chooses to reaffirm that specific debt.

Tax Audits
This service covers reviewing tax returns and answering questions from the IRS or a state or local taxing authority concerning the Participant's tax return; negotiating with the agency; advising the Participant on necessary documentation; and attending an IRS or a state or local taxing authority audit. The service does not include prosecuting a claim for the return of overpaid taxes, costs of hiring an accountant or the preparation of any tax returns.

DEFENSE OF CIVIL LAWSUITS

Administrative Hearing Representation
This service covers Participants in defense of civil proceedings before a municipal, county, state or federal administrative board, agency or commission. It includes the hearing before an administrative board or agency over an adverse governmental action. It does not apply where services are available or are being provided by virtue of a homeowner or vehicle insurance policy. It does not include divorce or post-decree matters, paternity, support or custody matters or litigation of a job-related incident.

Incompetency Defense
This service covers the Participant in the defense of any incompetency action, including court hearings when there is a proceeding to find the Participant incompetent.

Civil Litigation Defense
This service covers the Participant in defense of civil proceedings before a municipal, county, state, or federal administrative board, agency, or commission, or in a trial court of general jurisdiction. It does not apply where services are available or are being provided by virtue of an insurance policy. It does not include family law matters, post judgment matters, matters with criminal penalties or litigation of a job related incident. Services do not include bringing counterclaims, third party or cross claims.

DOCUMENT PREPARATION

Affidavits
This service covers preparation of any affidavit in which the Participant is the person making the statement.

Deeds
This service covers the preparation of any deed for which the Participant is either the grantor or grantee.

Demand Letters
This service covers the preparation of letters that demand money, property or some other property interest of the Participant, except an interest that is an excluded service. It also covers mailing them to the addressee and forwarding and explaining any response to the Participant. Negotiations and representation in litigation are not included.

Document Review
This service covers the review of any personal legal document of the Participant such as letters, leases, or purchase agreements.

Elder Law Matters

This service covers counseling the Participant over the phone or in the office on any personal issues relating to the Participant’s parents as they affect the Participant. The service includes reviewing documents of the parents to advise the Participant on the effect of the Participant. The documents include Medicare or Medicaid materials, prescription plans, leases, nursing home agreements, power of attorneys, living wills and wills. The service also includes preparing deeds for the parents when the Participant is either the grantor or grantee; and preparing promissory notes for the parents when the Participant is the payor or payee.

Mortgages
This service covers the preparation of any mortgage or deed of trust for which the Participant is the mortgagor. This service does not include documents pertaining to business, commercial or rental property.

Notes
This service covers the preparation of any promissory note for which the Participant is the payor or payee.

FAMILY LAW

Name Change
This service covers the Participant for all necessary pleadings and court hearings for a legal name change.

Premarital Agreement
This service covers the preparation of an agreement by a Plan Member and his or her fiancé prior to their marriage, outlining how property is to be divided in the event of separation, divorce or death of a spouse/domestic partner. Representation is provided only to the Plan Member. The fiancé must have separate counsel or must waive representation.

Protection from Domestic Violence

This service covers the Plan Member only, not the spouse/same-sex domestic partner or dependents, as the victim of domestic violence. It provides the Plan Member with representation to obtain a protective order, including all required paperwork and attendance at all court appearances. The service does not include representation in suits for damages, defense of any action, or representation for the offender

Legitimization (Contested and Uncontested)
This service covers all legal services and court work in a state or federal court for an adoption for the Plan Member and spouse/same-sex domestic partner. Legitimization of a child for the Plan Member and spouse/same-sex domestic partner, including reformation of a birth certificate, is also covered.

Uncontested Guardianship or Conservatorship
This service covers establishing an uncontested guardianship or conservatorship over a person and his or her estate when the Plan Member or spouse/same-sex domestic partner is appointed guardian or conservator. It includes obtaining a permanent and/or temporary guardianship or conservatorship, gathering any necessary medical evidence, preparing the paperwork and attending the hearing. If the proceeding becomes contested, the Plan Member or spouse/same-sex domestic partner must pay all additional legal fees. This service does not include representation of the person over whom guardianship or conservatorship is sought, or any annual accountings once guardianship or conservatorship has been established.

PERSONAL INJURY

Personal Injury (25 percent Network Maximum)
Subject to applicable law and court rules, Plan Attorneys will handle personal injury matters (where the Participant is the plaintiff) at a maximum fee of 25 percent of the gross award. It is the Participant's responsibility to pay this fee and all costs.

REAL ESTATE MATTERS

Eviction and Tenant Problems (Primary Residence - Tenant Only)
This service covers the Participant as a tenant for matters involving leases, security deposits or disputes with a residential landlord. The service includes eviction defense, up to and including trial. It does not include representations in disputes with other tenants or as a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the landlord, including an action for return of a security deposit.

Home Equity Loans (Primary Residence)

This service covers the review or preparation of a home equity loan on the Participant’s primary residence.

Boundary or Title Disputes (Primary Residence)

This service covers the negotiations and litigation arising from the boundary or title disputes involving a Participant’s primary residence, where coverage is not available under the Participant’s homeowner or title insurance policies.

Property Tax Assessment (Primary Residence)

This service covers the Participant for review and advice on a property tax assessment on the Participant’s primary residence. It also includes filing the paperwork; gathering the evidence; negotiating a settlement; and attending the hearing necessary to seek a reduction of the assessment.

Security Deposit Assistance (Primary Residence – Tenant only)

This service covers counseling the Participant as a tenant in recovering a security deposit from the Participant’s residential landlord for the Participant’s primary residence; reviewing the lease and other relevant documents; and preparing a demand letter to the landlord for the return of the deposit. It also covers assisting the Participant in prosecuting a small claims action; helping prepare documents; advising on evidence, documentation and witnesses; and preparing the Participant for a small claims trial. This service does not include the Plan Attorney’s attendance or representation at the small claims trial, collection activities after a judgment or any services relating to post-judgment actions.

Zoning Applications

This service provides the Participant with the services of a lawyer to help get a zoning change or variance for the Participant’s primary residence. Services include reviewing the law, reviewing the surveys, advising the Participant, preparing applications, and preparing for and attending the hearing to change zoning.

Refinancing of Home (Primary Residence)
This service covers the review or preparation, by an attorney representing the Participant, of all relevant documents (including the mortgage and deed, and documents pertaining to title, insurance, recordation and taxation), which are involved in the refinancing or obtaining a home equity loan of a Participant's primary residence. The benefit also includes attendance of an attorney at closing. This benefit includes obtaining a permanent mortgage on a newly constructed home. It does not include services provided by any attorney representing a lending institution or title company. The benefit does not include the refinancing of a second home, vacation property, unimproved land, rental property or property held for business or investment.

Sale or Purchase of Home (Primary Residence)
This service covers the review or preparation, by an attorney representing the Participant, of all relevant documents (including the purchase agreement, mortgage and deed, and documents pertaining to title, insurance, recordation and taxation), which are involved in the purchase or sale of a Participant's primary residence or vacant property to be used for building a primary residence. The benefit also includes attendance of an attorney at closing. It does not include services provided by any attorney representing a lending institution or title company. The benefit does not include the sale or purchase of a second home, vacation property, unimproved land, new construction, rental property, property held for business or investment or leases with an option to buy. Home equity and construction loans are not included under this service.

Home Equity Loans (Primary Residence)
This service covers the review and preparation of a home equity loan on the Participant's primary residence.

Security Deposit Assistance (Primary Residence-Tenant only)
This service covers counseling the Participant as a tenant in recovering a security deposit from the Participant's residential landlord for the Participant's primary residence; reviewing the lease and other relevant documents; and preparing a demand letter to the landlord for the return of the deposit. It also covers assisting the Participant in prosecuting a small claims action; helping prepare documents; advising on evidence, documentation and witnesses; and preparing the Participant for the small claims trial. This service does not include the Plan Attorney's attendance or representation at the small claims trial, collection activities after a judgment or any services related to post-judgment actions.

TRAFFIC AND CRIMINAL MATTERS

Juvenile Court Defense
This service covers the defense of a Plan Member and a Plan Member's dependent child in any juvenile court matter, provided there is no conflict of interest with the Plan Member, in which case this service provides an attorney for the Plan Member only, including services for Parental Responsibility.

Restoration of Driving Privileges
This service covers the participant with representation in proceedings to restore the Participant's driving license.

Traffic Ticket Defense (No DUI)
This service covers representation of the Participant in defense of any traffic ticket except driving under influence or vehicular homicide, including court hearings, negotiation with the prosecutor and trial.

WILL AND ESTATE MATTERS

Trusts
This service covers the preparation of a revocable and irrevocable trust for the Participant. It does not include tax planning or services associated with funding the trust after it is created.

Living Wills
This service covers the preparation of a living will for the Participant.

Powers of Attorney
This service covers the preparation of any power of attorney when the Participant is granting the power.

Probate (10 percent Network Discount)
Subject to applicable law and court rules, Plan Attorneys will handle probate matters at a fee 10 percent less than the Plan Attorney's normal fee. It is the Participant's responsibility to pay this reduced fee and all costs.

Wills and Codicils
This service covers the preparation of a simple or complex will for the Participant. The creation of any testamentary trust is covered. The benefit includes the preparation of codicils and will amendments. It does not include tax planning.

EXCLUSIONS

Certain matters are excluded from coverage under the Legal Plan. No services, not even a consultation, can be provided for the following matters:

  • Payment made to a third party such as costs, witness fees, filing fees, transcripts or fines;
  • Divorce;
  • Appeals, class actions or tax return preparation;
  • Business, farm, patent, trademark or copyright matters;
  • Rental property when you are the landlord;
  • Any matter for which an attorney-client relationship exists prior to the Participant becoming eligible for plan benefits;
  • Matters or disputes involving your Plan Sponsor or Employer, Carrier or a Plan Attorney;
  • Matters concerning employment, including Company and statutory benefits, including unemployment and workers' compensation;
  • Frivolous or unethical matters;
  • Matters in which there is a conflict or interest between the [employee] and spouse/domestic partner or dependents in which case services are excluded for the spouse/domestic partner and dependents.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE CALL MERCER VOLUNTARY BENEFITS AT 1-800-988-6420.

 

DISCLAIMER: These are voluntary benefit plans that Johns Hopkins University makes available to its employees through Mercer Voluntary Benefits. Johns Hopkins University does not contribute to any policy or service offered under the program. For those offerings that involve individual policies, Johns Hopkins University's responsibilities are limited to coordinating payroll deductions for premium payment and your contract for coverage will be with each insurance company or plan provider. For those offerings that involve group coverage, Johns Hopkins University's responsibilities are governed pursuant to the appropriate Master Policy provisions. You are under no obligation to purchase any of the voluntary policies or services offered through this site; you are also free to explore other options including purchase of policies or services directly from an insurance company or provider.

Answers about the plan, including eligibility, options, enrollment, customer service and more.

Participants in the legal plan are encouraged to use the plan to resolve as many legal issues as possible even if they are pre-existing matters. The only pre-existing matters, which cannot be covered under this plan, are those for which the participant has retained an attorney before becoming eligible for plan benefits. This policy is necessary to protect the existing attorney-client relationship.

If a participant desires service for a personal legal matter that is outside the scope of the plan, he or she can still receive telephone advice or an in-office consultation about the matter - with the exception of excluded matters. This enables the participant to discuss the issues at length, understand his or her rights and options, and decide on a course of action.

Once the details of the matter have been presented, the plan attorney may decide that the matter is actually covered by the plan. If it is, the attorney will advise the participant and provide service.

If the matter is not covered, a Plan Attorney will provide a written fee estimate and the participant can choose whether or not to retain the Plan Attorney for further representation.

All services through the legal plan are completely confidential. The only thing your employer will know is that you are enrolled in the plan.

This legal plan gives you and your family access to legal advice and professional legal representation at an affordable price, through a voluntary, after-tax payroll deduction. You can obtain services from attorneys in much the same way as you do from the doctors who participate in your medical plan. The Legal Plan offers unlimited telephone advice and in-office consultations regarding a wide range of personal legal services and full representation for the following:

  • Preparation of Wills, Living Wills, and Trusts
  • Purchase, Sale and Refinancing of Primary Residence
  • Debt Collection Defense
  • Identity Theft
  • Personal Bankruptcy
  • Civil Litigation Defense, including Administrative Hearings and Incompetency Defense
  • Tenant Negotiations and Eviction Defense (tenant only)
  • Name Change
  • Premarital Agreement
  • Uncontested Adoption, Guardianship or Conservatorship
  • Preparation of Powers of Attorney, Affidavits, Deeds, Demand Letters, Promissory Notes, and Mortgages
  • Immigration Assistance
  • Review of Personal Legal Documents
  • Restoration of Driving Privilege and Traffic Ticket Defense (No DUI)
There are many reasons:
  • What would you do if you found an unauthorized charge on your credit card?
  • Are you aware of the legal needs created by getting married, buying a home, or selling your car?
  • Do you want the courts to decide who will get your assets and be the guardian of your children? A recent survey revealed that more than half of all middle-income American families would encounter at least one legal need this year. This can be expensive. Just take a look at how much it costs for legal services in the U.S.*:
Basic Legal Need Average Cost
Standard Will Preparation $456
Driving Privilege Protection $1,368
Juvenile Misdemeanor $1,596
Real Estate Issue $1,596
Consumer Protection $2,736

*Source: 2003 Altman Weil Law Firm Economic Survey

The legal services plan helps pay for these costs. It is offered as part of your employer's benefits, and you can't get this innovative, unique coverage anywhere else.

Attorneys' services for covered legal matters are fully paid for by the plan. When services are rendered for covered matters, participants do not receive a bill for the plan attorney and they do not complete a claim form. All billing and payments are handled directly between the plan attorney and the plan

As a new hire, you can enroll at anytime within 30 days of your benefits eligible date. Outside of your new hire enrollment period, enrollment is limited to the company's annual enrollment period.

You'll have access to a nationwide network of more than 13,000 participating Plan Attorneys from which to choose. Plan Attorneys have an average of 23 years or more of legal experience and have met stringent selection criteria. Plus, if you stay within the network, covered legal services are provided with no additional attorney fees. Of course, you also have the flexibility to use a non-Plan Attorney and get reimbursed for covered services according to a set fee schedule.

You can find a list of attorneys in your area by going to www.legalplans.com and enter the access code 8470010. Click on the attorney locator tab and enter your zip code.

The plan covers most personal legal services. The following matters are excluded from coverage:
  • Employment-related matters, including company or statutory benefits
  • Matters involving your employer, Hyatt, and plan attorneys
  • Matters in which there is a conflict or interest between the employee and spouse/domestic partner or dependents in which case services are excluded for the spouse/domestic partner and dependents
  • Appeals and class actions
  • Farm and business matters, including rental issues when the participant is the landlord
  • Patent, trademark and copyright matters
  • Costs and fines
  • Divorce
  • Frivolous or unethical matters
  • Matters for which an attorney-client relationship exists prior to the participant becoming eligible for plan benefits

The legal plan costs $15.00 per month.

A Legal Services Plan gives you and your family access to legal advice and professional legal representation at an affordable price, through a voluntary, after-tax payroll deduction. You can obtain services from attorneys in much the same way as you do from the doctors who participate in your medical plan. Most legal plans rely on a network of participating attorneys in private practice or participating law firms to provide covered services.

 

DISCLAIMER: These are voluntary benefit plans that Johns Hopkins University makes available to its employees through Mercer Voluntary Benefits. Johns Hopkins University does not contribute to any policy or service offered under the program. For those offerings that involve individual policies, Johns Hopkins University's responsibilities are limited to coordinating payroll deductions for premium payment and your contract for coverage will be with each insurance company or plan provider. For those offerings that involve group coverage, Johns Hopkins University's responsibilities are governed pursuant to the appropriate Master Policy provisions. You are under no obligation to purchase any of the voluntary policies or services offered through this site; you are also free to explore other options including purchase of policies or services directly from an insurance company or provider.

 

Coverage Tier Monthly Deduction
Employee Only $15.00 per month
Family $15.00 per month

We're here to help! Please contact us in whatever manner is most convenient for you.

Mercer Voluntary Benefits
12421 Meredith Drive
Urbandale, IA 50398
Phone: 1-866-795-9362
M-F, 8:00 am - 6:00 pm EST/EDT 
Email: Customer.Service@Mercer.com

 

DISCLAIMER: These are voluntary benefit plans that Johns Hopkins University makes available to its employees through Mercer Voluntary Benefits. Johns Hopkins University does not contribute to any policy or service offered under the program. For those offerings that involve individual policies, Johns Hopkins University's responsibilities are limited to coordinating payroll deductions for premium payment and your contract for coverage will be with each insurance company or plan provider. For those offerings that involve group coverage, Johns Hopkins University's responsibilities are governed pursuant to the appropriate Master Policy provisions. You are under no obligation to purchase any of the voluntary policies or services offered through this site; you are also free to explore other options including purchase of policies or services directly from an insurance company or provider.

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Newly Hired/Eligible Employees can enroll on the JHU myChoices Benefits website under the Health & Life button

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DISCLAIMER: These are voluntary benefit plans that Johns Hopkins University makes available to its employees through Mercer Voluntary Benefits. Johns Hopkins University does not contribute to any policy or service offered under the program. For those offerings that involve individual policies, Johns Hopkins University's responsibilities are limited to coordinating payroll deductions for premium payment and your contract for coverage will be with each insurance company or plan provider. For those offerings that involve group coverage, Johns Hopkins University's responsibilities are governed pursuant to the appropriate Master Policy provisions. You are under no obligation to purchase any of the voluntary policies or services offered through this site; you are also free to explore other options including purchase of policies or services directly from an insurance company or provider.