Many of you may already know that you have a Legal Plan available to you through the University of Michigan. I find that most people don’t have a clear understanding of what types of benefits are available through the plan, or how the plan can truly benefit them. Here are a few of the highlights:
- Extremely Affordable
First, I want to point out for those of you that haven’t opted for this coverage, that it is extremely affordable. Coverage for an employee is only $8.34/month, and coverage for your whole family is $13.34/month. If you have ever paid an attorney out of pocket, you would see what a deal this represents. It has the potential to save you thousands of dollars.
- Broad List of Coverages
The Legal Plan includes coverage in the following areas:
- Advice and Consultation
- Debt Matters
- Defense of Civil Lawsuits
- Document Preparation
- Family Law
- Personal Injury
- Real Estate Matters
- Wills and Estate Matters
You can find the details for each of these areas here: https://hr.umich.edu/benefits-wellness/financial/legal-services-plan/covered-legal-services.
Full and fair disclosure, I recommend the plan to clients primarily for estate plan preparation. It never ceases to amaze me the number of healthcare professionals I meet that are still walking around the hospital everyday without their own Healthcare Powers of Attorney. Some people think this doesn’t apply to them. Some people simply think they are too young to start this type of planning. Truth be told, if you are 18 years or older, you need this type of planning. It covers anything from who makes healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so, all the way to who becomes the guardian of your children if something happens to you.
- Base Coverage through Life Insurance
Unfortunately, the Legal Plan is one of the few benefits at the University that is still subject to open enrollment. However, if you don’t want to wait until January of next year to get started on your estate plan, there might be a backdoor solution for you! If you are enrolled in the U of M Optional Life Insurance Plan, you are eligible for basic estate planning services. A Trust will not be covered with this option. However, the following can be covered: Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, and Will.
- Access to CyberScout
Have you been a long-time enrollee of the Legal Plan? If so, you may not know about one of the newer features available. Opting for the Legal Plan now gives you free access to an identity theft service called CyberScout. Given the increasing risk of security fraud, I recommend identity theft monitoring protection to all my clients. While there are more comprehensive options available outside of the University, I feel that CyberScout is a strong alternative for employees that don’t want to or aren’t able to pay for coverage. Once enrolled in the Legal Plan, you can access CyberScout here: https://www.myidmanager.com/hyattlegal.
Please remember that when it comes to seeking legal advice, not all lawyers and their respective firms are created equal. If you are looking for someone to draft your estate plan, look for someone that specializes in estate planning and elder law.
While this may not cover every detail of the plan, I wanted to provide you with the highlights that I find most people aren’t aware of. I find that getting your estate plan drafted is the number one most procrastinated item for most of my clients. Now that you know you have simple, affordable access through the University of Michigan, I hope you make this a priority today! After all, nothing feels better than crossing something off your to-do list.
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