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SMU employees can enroll in the LegalGUARD Plan via my.smu.edu during their 31-day new hire enrollment period or during SMU’s annual October Open Enrollment.  Please direct enrollment questions to benefitsu@smu.edu.

 

Questions? Contact Us.
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We’re here when you need us.

 

For Plan and Benefit Questions:

To learn more about LegalGUARD, InfoArmor and the legal benefits you will get,

    Call us at: 1(800) 248-9000.

 

    Or message us by clicking here.

 

For How to Enroll:

Contact the Department of Human Resources at SMU

    Call at: (214) 768-3311.

 

    Or email benefitsu@smu.edu 

 

Member Services:

    Call us at: 1(888) 416-4313.

 

    Or message us by clicking here.

Welcome

Benefits Proudly Offered to Southern Methodist University Employees

 

 

Be fully prepared and confident

 with LegalGUARDsm

Learn about legal insurance, a smart option for your protection.

Product Presented By: Nationwide® Insurance          Product Administered By: LegalEASE

Protect your family’s future, with LegalGUARD.

You work hard to make the right choices for your loved ones, especially when it comes to legal and financial matters. Get the peace of mind you want and the protection you need with a LegalGUARD Plan. LegalGUARD offers valuable benefits to shield your family and savings from unexpected legal issues.                              

According to the American Bar Association,

More than 70 percent of U.S. households will have the need for a lawyer in the next 12 months. And the same study found most consumers feel uncertain about how to tell a good lawyer from a bad one.

Be fully prepared and confident with LegalGUARD.

Nobody likes to be caught off guard, especially when it comes to legal matters. So how can you affordably protect you and your family from those unforeseen events? By becoming a LegalGUARD member for less than a cup of coffee a day, your family and your wallet have the protection of the LegalGUARD Plan.

Life can be complicated. Finding a good attorney doesn’t have to be.

With LegalGUARD, it’s easy to choose the best attorney, because you get assistance from highly trained and qualified personal specialists who review the details of local attorneys and help you find your best source for legal advice.

The value of being a LegalGUARD member.

Being a LegalGUARD member saves you time and costly legal fees. But most importantly, it gives you peace of mind because it supplies fully paid services for: financial issues, home and residential, auto and traffic, estate planning and wills, consumer and civil law and consultation.

With a LegalGUARD plan, you get:

• An attorney with expertise specific to your legal matter

• Access to a national network of attorneys with exceptional experience that are matched to meet your needs

• Coverage for in and out-of-network

• Online articles, tools and tips

• Concierge help finding a better attorney and navigating common individual or family legal issues

• Up to 10 hours of financial counseling per year

 

 



 

Coverage

The value of a LegalGUARD Plan.

 
Being a LegalGUARD member saves you time and costly legal fees. But most importantly, it gives you confidence and provides coverage for:
  • Home and Residential
  • Financial and Money Matters
  • Consumer
  • Auto and Driving
  • Family and Personal 
  • Civil Lawsuits
  • Estate planning and wills
  • Elder Law

LegalGUARD Plan Coverage

Benefits are designed to meet the typical needs of an employee and their family. There are no deductibles to worry about for covered services. Benefits cover the attorney’s time. Other costs such as filing fees or court costs are not covered. Listed below are the types of matters that are covered by the LegalGUARD Plan.  This plan offers the convenience of in-network and out-of-network benefits. Many of the below areas are fully covered in-network.

Plan Cost

The LegalGUARD Plan is only $17.90 per month, via payroll deduction.

Who's Covered?

“COVERED FAMILY MEMBER” – means the Member’s spouse or domestic partner and Member’s unmarried dependent children, including stepchildren, legally adopted children, children placed in the home for adoption and foster children, up to age 19, and from age 19 up to 25 years if they are enrolled in an accredited school or college as full-time student(s) and are primarily dependent upon the Member for support.

“ELIGIBILITY OF PARENTS” - parents of the Member and the Member’s Spouse, regardless of age, are eligible for benefits under the Elder Law coverage only. Benefits cover Biological Parents, Step-Parents and Adoptive Parents.

PLAN COVERAGE COMPARED TO COSTS WITHOUT PLAN

Advice and Consultation

 LegalGUARD Plan Coverage

Typical Costs Without  Plan

Law Office Consultation1

Covered

$0 to $400

Telephone Consultation

Covered

$0 to $400

Review of Simple Documents Fully Covered1

Covered

$50 to $400

Consumer

 LegalGUARD Plan Coverage

Typical Costs Without  Plan

Document Preparation

Simple Deed

Promissory Note

Consumer Dispute Correspondence

Installment Sales Agreement

Simple Affidavit

General Power of Attorney: Covered Family Member

Lease Agreement – Tenant Only

Time Share Agreement

 

Covered

Covered

Covered

Covered

Covered

Covered

Covered

Covered

 

$75 to $250

$75 to $250

$75 to $250

$75 to $250

$75 to $250

$75 to $250

$75 to $250

$75 to $250

Consumer Dispute2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules

$200 to $1,000

Small Claims Court Representation1

Fully Covered up to 2 Hours

$300 to $800

Mail Order or Internet Purchase Dispute1

Fully Covered up to 5 Hours $300 to $500

Bank Fee Dispute1

Fully Covered up to 5 Hours $300 to $500

First-Time Vehicle Buyer1

Fully Covered up to 5 Hours $300 to $500

Vehicle Repair and Lemon Law Litigation1

Fully Covered up to 5 Hours $300 to $500

Cell Phone Contract Dispute1

Contract Review up to 6 Pages

Representation

Fully Covered up to 5 Hours

$300 to $500

$300 to $500

Warranty Dispute1

Warranty Review up to 6 Pages

Representation

Fully Covered up to 5 Hours

$300 to $500

$300 to $500

Wills and Estate

 LegalGUARD Plan Coverage

Typical Costs Without  Plan

Simple Will or Codicil for: Member, Spouse & Family Member

Covered

$150 to $500

Complex Will

25% Discount

N/A

Living Will OR

Health Care Power of Attorney

Covered

$75 to $250

$75 to $250

Living Trust Document

Covered $1,200 to $2,000

Probate of Small Estate1

Fully Covered up to 2 Hours

$300 to $1200

Home

 LegalGUARD Plan Coverage

Typical Costs Without  Plan

Purchase of Primary Residence

Covered

$350 to $900

Sale of Primary Residence

Covered $350 to $900

Refinancing of Primary Residence

Covered

$350 to $900

Tenant Disputes2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules

$500 to $2,000

Financial

 LegalGUARD Plan Coverage

Typical Costs Without  Plan

Debt Collection Defense: Pre-litigation defense2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules

$500

Debt Collection Defense: Trial defense2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules

$2,000

Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 or 132

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules $1,200 to $3,000

Foreclosure2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules

$1,500

Tax Audits2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules $2,000 and Above

Civil

 LegalGUARD Plan Coverage

Typical Costs Without  Plan

Civil Litigation Defense2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules

$1,500 and Above

Family

 LegalGUARD Plan Coverage

Typical Costs Without  Plan

Uncontested Separation1

Fully Covered up to 10 Hours $800

Consent/default Divorce1

Fully Covered up to 10 Hours $500 to $1,500

Uncontested Divorce1

Fully Covered up to 10 Hours $800 to $1,500

Contested Divorce1

Fully Covered up to 28.5 Hours $1,500 and above

Prenuptial Agreement2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules $500 to $1,500

Name Change2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules

$150 to $400

Uncontested Guardianship/Conservatorship2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules

$500 to $1,500

Uncontested Governmental Agency Adoptions2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules

$500 to $1,500

Uncontested Stepparent Adoptions2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules

$500 to $1,500

Juvenile Court Proceedings2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules

$1,000 to $2,500

Criminal

 LegalGUARD Plan Coverage

Typical Costs Without  Plan

Traffic Ticket2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules $500 to $1,500

Serious Traffic Matters (resulting in suspension or revocation of license)2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules

$500 to $1,500

Administrative proceeding (regarding suspension or revocation of license)2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules

$500 to $1,500

Misdemeanor Defense2

Covered, Subject to Managed Case Rules

$1,500 to $5,000

Additional Benefits

 LegalGUARD Plan Coverage

Typical Costs Without  Plan

Identity Theft Recovery Assistance1

Covered

Not Applicable

Financial Advisor1

Covered

Not Applicable

Elder Law1

Covered

Not Applicable

Immigration Assistance1

Covered

Not Applicable

Mediation1

Covered

Not Applicable

1Some limitations may apply.
 
2Subject to managed case rules.
 

Exclusions

This Policy excludes benefits for the following:

Appellate court proceedings, class actions, interventions, derivative action and amicus curiae filings.
The preparation and filing of individual, partnership or estate tax returns, appellate or administrative proceedings related to tax returns, litigation before the U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Claims or any other federal, state or other courts with respect to tax matters.
Matters relating to securities, trademark or patent matters; business or commercial interests, including, but not limited to, professional, partnership and/or corporate matters; matters involving the law or laws of jurisdictions other than the United States and its territories except as specifically described under Covered Services; any matters involving a government (domestic or foreign) entity or agency except as specifically described under Covered Services; farm related issues; matters involving commercial or rental property transactions, including the purchase, sale or lease of investment or income-producing property.
Legal services that are fully paid for or provided at no cost by any governmental agency, organization or insurance company.
Matters that the attorney deems frivolous, spurious, harassing, or unethical (collectively referred to as “frivolous”) or otherwise prohibited by the Model Rules of Professional Conduct of the state in which the attorney is licensed.
Costs associated with covered legal services, including but not limited to, all fines, court costs, penalties, sanctions, expert witness fees, bonds, bail bonds, attorney fees, exhibits, deposition costs, filing fees, transcripts, postage, telephone, photocopying, recording fees, messengers, judgments, jury fees, court reporter fees, investigative costs and all other incidental and out-of-pocket legal and litigation costs.
Any services on behalf of a Covered Family Member against the interests of the Member.
Any employment-related matter. This includes, but is not limited to, any dispute involving the Member’s employer or its affiliates, their officers or directors, the Member’s employee benefit plans, credit unions, programs or arrangements sponsored by an employer, or cases involving workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, sex harassment, age discrimination, etc.
Any dispute or proceeding against the following persons or entities, their officers, directors, employees, or agents: any person or entity involved in the sale, marketing, administration or other processes related to this Policy; Legal Plan Administrator or its subsidiaries; Claims Administrator or its subsidiaries; Policyholder; Member’s employer; Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and it’s parents, subsidiaries or any affiliated or successor company, plan underwriter or reinsurer; Plan Sponsor; or any Participating and/or Non-Participating Attorney, if the dispute or proceeding pertains to services provided under the Policy.
The Policy will not provide benefits in connection with pre-existing matters, which includes any matter where the Member and/or Covered Family Member is on notice as to a pending legal dispute or has previously contacted an attorney, except when prior coverage under another Legal Plan provided by the Policyholder can be demonstrated.
Where there are specific hours or dollar amounts provide in this Policy, or where a maximum is set under the Managed Case Rules, the Member will be responsible for all attorney fees incurred over the maximum. Additional exclusions related to each benefit are included in the Covered Services.

Definitions

Definitions

"REIMBURSEMENT ADMINISTRATOR” - means Co-ordinated Benefit Plans LLC; or its subsidiary.
 
“COMPLEX WILL” - means the Member has a significant net worth and will benefit from tax planning, or the estate is subject to current state or federal estate taxation; or the Member owns a business that will continue in operation after death; or the Member wants to put restrictions on what heirs may do with the property; or the Member wants to leave money to someone in a trust because the person cannot manage his or her own affairs (such as a mentally handicapped child), or wants the property to be managed by a trustee for a period of time past the child’s age of majority, to age 25 or 30, for example; or the Member thinks that someone will challenge the will; or the Member wants to exclude any lawful dependents.
 
“CONTESTED DIVORCE” - refers to a divorce proceeding that requires more than 5 hours of attorney time, involves disputed issues and both parties are represented by an attorney.
 
“COVERED FAMILY MEMBER” – means the Member’s spouse and Member’s unmarried dependent children, including stepchildren, legally adopted children, children placed in the home for adoption and foster children, up to age 26 and are primarily dependent upon the Member for support.
 
“COVERED SPOUSE” - means the Member’s lawful spouse at the time the group policy is in effect.
 
“EFFECTIVE DATE” - means the date a Member’s coverage hereunder begins.
 
“CONTRACTHOLDER” - means the organization named in the declarations page.
 
“INTERNET PURCHASE” - A purchase of goods or services whose purchase value is over $200.00 at the time of purchase by a Member and/or Covered Family Member from a website on the worldwide web.
 
“LEGAL PLAN ADMINISTRATOR” – LegalEASE, its affiliates, officers, directors, employees, and/or agents, including third party organizations and their affiliates, officers, directors, employees, and/or agents, hired by LegalEASE to perform services under this group policy / Certificate of Coverage.
 
“MEMBER” - refers to the individual who is associated with the Policyholder and who has paid or a premium has been paid on his/her behalf and who meets the eligibility requirements for Covered Services as defined by the Policyholder.
 
“MEMBER SERVICE CENTER” - means the service location established to help make full use of the certificate benefits.
 
“NON-PARTICIPATING ATTORNEY” - means an attorney not retained by Legal Plan Administrator who is selected and paid by the Member to provide services covered under the Certificate of Coverage up to the maximum amount as shown in the Schedule of Benefits.
 
“PAID IN FULL” - means complete payment to a Participating Attorney for covered legal services.
 
“PARTICIPATING ATTORNEY” - means an attorney retained by the Legal Plan Administrator to provide covered legal services at the amount shown in the Schedule of Benefits.
 
“POLICYHOLDER” - means the organization named in the declarations page.
 
“WE”, “US”, “OUR” AND “COMPANY” - means the name of the underwriter indicated on the first page of this Certificate of Coverage.
 

Covered Services

The Effective Date of this endorsement is the Effective Date of the Policy/Certificate to which this endorsement is attached. This endorsement is made a part of the Policy/Certificate to which it is attached. This endorsement is subject to all of the provisions and limitations of the Policy/Certificate. If there is a conflict between the Policy/Certificate and the endorsement, the terms of the endorsement will govern. The following is a list of Covered Services available, in addition to the services described in your Policy/Certificate of Coverage.
 
FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Financial Helpline
Consultation with legal or financial professionals by toll-free telephone during normal business hours. Calls can relate to investment strategies, debt matters, or any personal financial planning question.
 
ELDER LAW
Eligibility of Parents
Parents of the Member and the Member’s Spouse, regardless of age, are eligible for benefits under the Elder Law coverage described herein. Benefits cover Biological Parents, Step-Parents and Adoptive Parents.
 
Elder Law Benefits
Advice and Consultation
Legal Helpline: Member/Eligible Parent may receive advice and consultation by toll-free telephone with a Plan Attorney. Services are available during normal business hours. Calls can relate to any personal legal matter, civil or criminal.
Financial Helpline: Member/Eligible Parent will receive consultation by toll-free telephone during normal business hours. Calls can relate to investment strategies, debt matters or any personal financial planning question.
 
Document Preparation
Simple Will Preparation: Each Eligible Parent, as defined above, may receive one Simple Will per year at no charge. Plan Attorney will prepare the document and discuss the legal requirements for executing the Will.
Simple Will means the will maker does not have a significant net worth and will not benefit from tax planning, or the estate is not subject to current state or federal estate taxation; the will maker does not own a business that will continue in operation after death; the will maker does not want to put restrictions on what heirs may do with the property; the will maker does not want to leave money to someone in a trust because the person cannot manage his or her own affairs (such as a mentally handicapped child), or does not want the property to be managed by a trustee for a period of time past the child’s age of majority, to age 25 or 30, for example; the will maker does not think that someone will challenge the will; and/or the will maker does not want to exclude any lawful dependents.
Living Will Preparation: Eligible Parents, as defined above, may request one Living Will per year at no charge. Plan Attorney will prepare the document as authorized by state law and discuss the legal requirements for signing the Living Will. A Living Will expresses an individual’s wishes as to the use or withdrawal of life support systems.
Power of Attorney Preparation: Eligible Parents, as defined above, may request one POA per year at no charge. Plan Attorney will prepare the document as authorized by state law and discuss the legal requirements for signing the POA.
Additional Documents
Additional documents may be prepared for a minimal charge, up to once per year per Eligible Parent, as described above:
  • Healthcare Directive – $45 fee per document
  • Financial Power of Attorney – $45 fee per document
  • Durable Power of Attorney – $45 fee per document
  • Healthcare Durable Power of Attorney – $45 fee per document
Any 3 or more of the above documents may be prepared for a package cost of $115 per set
 
MEDIATION
Consultation Services: Members receive one free thirty minute consultation with a licensed mediator every quarter. Topics include: domestic disputes, divorce or child custody proceedings, consumer problems, medical bill, warranties, loan disputes, auto accidents.
Mediation Counseling Assistance: Assistance is available to assist Members with understanding mediation and alternative dispute resolution. Examples of some topics are; charting projected lawsuit expenses, understanding when mediation might work, managing legal expenses in mediation, educational tools to make an informed decision, and advice on selecting mediator or other options. These services are designed to help Members deal with the increase in resolution pace.
Discounted Mediation Services: Member receives a 10% discount on Participating Attorney’s normal mediation fees. This includes hourly rates and flat fees. However, this does not apply to contingency fees.
 
IDENTITY THEFT PREVENTION/RECOVERY ASSISTANCE
Coverage includes a basic Identity Theft HelpLine Service as well as a comprehensive Online Identity Theft Prevention and Assistance Service for Member, and Covered Family Members, and eligible parents, as defined in the Elder Law Rider.
Advice and Consultation
Telephone consultations (4 per year) with a Trained Identity Theft Recovery Specialist Additional Benefits
a) Personal Recovery Kit – designed to walk a victim of identity theft step-by-step through the process of recovery (designed to be utilized in conjunction with the consultations with the Recovery Specialist).
b) Recovery Letter preparation by plan attorney – a plan attorney will draft the simple affidavits to submit to specific agencies and organizations needed to establish the theft of your identity and prevent further loss of your identity and credit rating.
c) Review of necessary recovery legal documents (up to 6 pages each)
d) Up to $25,000 Expense Reimbursement for Identity Theft Losses That Cannot Be Recovered. Reimbursement policy provided by 3rd Party Insurance Company.
 
 
IMMIGRATION ASSISTANCE
Coverage includes immigration services for up to one Eligible Family Member, as described below, per year.
 
Eligible Family Members include spouse, children up to any age, parents of member and spouse and siblings of member and spouse.
 
Advice and Consultation: Members receive one office consultation per issue with a Participating Attorney on any personal immigration matter
Review of Immigration Documents: Participating Attorney will review and explain the meaning or impact of any immigration form or document, or make suggestions for changes to a form or document being drafted that is up to six (6) pages.
Preparation for Hearings: Member will receive up to two hours of general preparation for immigration hearings.
Preparation of Documents: Participating Attorney will prepare necessary affidavits and powers of attorney for the Plan Member or Eligible Family Member at no charge.
 
In consideration of payment and receipt by Us of the applicable fee, all Covered Services are available to a Member and all Covered Family Members. Except as noted below, the following Covered Services are provided to the Member when the Member uses a Participating Attorney. The Schedule of Services chart shows the reimbursement schedule when the Member uses a Non-Participating Attorney.
 
CONSUMER MATTERS
Document Preparation:
Preparation of any of the following documents: simple deed (excluding those reviewed or prepared under the real estate benefit),promissory note, consumer dispute correspondence, installment sales agreement, general power of attorney, lease agreement (tenant only), time share agreement, and simple affidavit.
This benefit is limited to one use per year per document, except general power of attorney, which is limited to one use per year per Covered Family Member.
 
Consumer Dispute:
Consultation or representation in a dispute relating to consumer goods and services (not involving real estate construction, landlord/tenant disputes or renovation).
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Small Claims Court Representation:
Consultation and/or representation for a consumer dispute filed in small claims court. (Attorney may not be permitted to attend court hearings in some jurisdictions).
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Mail Order or Internet Purchase Dispute:
The services of an attorney to review the nature of any mail order or Internet Purchase dispute involving the purchaser prior to the commencement of litigation. This service includes the review or preparation of dispute letters, any purchase documents and/or consultation with the attorney. If litigation is commenced in this matter, the benefit will cover up to the maximum shown on the Schedule of Benefits.
This benefit is limited to one purchase per year.
 
Bank Fee Dispute:
The services of an attorney to review the nature of any (non-business related) bank fee dispute between the Member and their bank prior to the commencement of litigation. This service includes the review or preparation of dispute letters, any purchase documents and/or consultation with the attorney. If litigation is commenced in this matter, the benefit will cover up to the maximum shown on the Schedule of Benefits.
This benefit is limited to one dispute per year.
 
First-time Vehicle Buyer:
The services of an attorney for the purchase of a Member’s and/or Covered Family Member’s first vehicle. This service includes the review or preparation of purchase and finance documents and/or consultation by the attorney at or before closing.
This benefit is limited to one vehicle purchase per year and must be the first vehicle purchase of either the Member or Covered Family Member.
 
Vehicle Repair and Lemon Law Litigation:
Services related to the representation of a Member and/or Covered Family Member who is entitled under the applicable state “lemon” law to bring a civil lawsuit (non-business related), up to and including the trial thereof related to a defective car as defined in the applicable state law. This benefit does not include: (1) any lawsuit related to finances or defects that do not specifically fall under the definitions permitted in the applicable state lemon law; (2) lawsuits normally handled on a contingent fee basis; (3) any collection or related defense or action; or (4) matters for which the Member has or is required by law to have insurance.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Cell Phone Contract Dispute:
Review of the cell phone contract where the Participating Attorney will verbally explain the meaning or impact of any form or document, or make suggestions for changes to a form or document being drafted of up to maximum number of pages shown on the Schedule of Benefits. This benefit does not include a written analysis of any form or document.
In the event of a dispute over the terms of the agreement between the cell phone company and the Member or any Covered Family Member, this benefit provides representation in a dispute relating to the cell phone contract if the Member/Covered Family Member is sued or named in a small claims court action. This service covers counseling on prosecuting a small claims court action; helping the Member/Covered Family Member prepare documents; advising on evidence, documentation and witnesses; and preparing the Member/Covered Family Member for trial. The service does not include the Participating Attorney’s attendance or representation at a small claims trial, collection activities after a judgment or any services relating to post-judgment actions.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Warranty Dispute:
Review of the warranty policy or service contract where the Participating Attorney will verbally explain the meaning or impact of any form or document, or make suggestions for changes to a form or document being drafted up to the maximum number of pages shown on the Schedule of Benefits. This benefit does not include a written analysis of any form or document.
In the event of a dispute over the terms of the agreement between the warranty company and the Member or Covered Family Member, this benefit provides representation in a dispute relating to the warranty or service contract if the Member or Covered Family Member is sued or named in a small claims court action. This service covers counseling on prosecuting a small claims court action; helping the Member/Covered Family Member prepare documents; advising on evidence, documentation and witnesses; and preparing the Member/Covered Family Member for trial. The service does not include the Participating Attorney’s attendance or representation at a small claims trial, collection activities after a judgment or any services relating to post-judgment actions.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Estate Planning
Will or Codicil Preparation:
Preparation of one simple will or codicil (an amendment to an existing will) for the Member and/or Covered Family Member, including the preparation of a simple testamentary support trust for the dependent children:
Simple Will Preparation: Participating Attorney shall prepare a simple will or codicil for Member and/or Covered Family Member and discuss the legal requirements for signing the will.
This benefit is limited to one use per year per Member/Covered Family Member.
Complex Will Preparation: Participating Attorney shall prepare a complex will or codicil for Member or Covered Family Member at a discounted fee paid directly to the attorney as shown in the Schedule of Services.
 
Living Will and/or Health Care Power of Attorney:
Preparation of living will and/or health care power of attorney for Member and/or Covered Family Member as authorized by state law. A living will expresses an individual’s wishes as to the use or withdrawal of life support systems. A health care power of attorney appoints another to make medical decisions if the individual is unable to do so him/herself.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Living Trust Document:
Preparation of living trust documents. This benefit does not include services related to transactions to fund the trust or transfer assets into it. This benefit does not include tax planning or tax advice related to the trust or the Member’s situation before and after the trust is prepared.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Probate of Small Estate:
The service of an attorney for the probate of a small estate (an estate that is not subject to current state or federal estate taxation) up to the maximum as shown in Schedule of Benefits.
 
Residential Matters
Real Estate Sale, Purchase or Refinancing of Primary Residence:
The services of an attorney for the purchase, sale, or refinancing of a Member’s primary residence (where Member has resided or intends to reside for twenty-seven (27) weeks or more per year). This service includes the review or preparation of closing documents and/or attendance by the Member’s attorney at closing in situations when it is customary to do so. This benefit does not include services performed by or for a title company, or for an attorney acting on behalf of a lending institution. Home equity loans and the sale or purchase of unimproved or rental properties are not included.
This benefit is limited to one closing per year.
 
Tenant Dispute:
Representation of the Member and/or Covered Family Member as a tenant in a dispute with his/her landlord.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Financial Matters
Debt Collection Defense:
The defense of any dispute involving personal (non-business related) debt. This benefit includes correspondence, negotiating with creditors to arrange a repayment schedule, assistance in limiting harassment by bill collectors, and negotiating settlement after a complaint is filed. This service does not include defense against execution of a court-ordered judgment or efforts to vacate or set aside a judgment.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Bankruptcy:
Representation on behalf of the Member and/or Covered Family Member for personal (non-business related) bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7 or 13 of the Internal Revenue Code.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Foreclosure:
Defense of the Member in an action to foreclose on the Member’s primary residence (where Member has resided or intends to reside twenty-seven (27) weeks or more per year.)
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Tax Audit:
Includes the services of an attorney (but not accounting services) during a personal (non-business related) tax audit process required by federal and state tax authorities and negotiations relating to it. This benefit does not include a defense against criminal charges nor the defense of civil tax litigation in any tax court.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Family Matters
Separation, Divorce, Civil Annulment:
Legal representation of the Member only for up to the maximum shown on the Schedule of Services in an uncontested separation, divorce, civil annulment, consent or default divorce. An uncontested separation, divorce or civil annulment does not involve significant disputed issues and the parties resolve any issues prior to any court supervised proceeding. A consent or default divorce does not involve any disputed issues and the opposing party is not represented by counsel. The service for uncontested matters does not provide any coverage of an attorney’s fee for: (1) services in excess of the maximum shown on the Schedule of Services; the Member must pay the attorney’s fee for services in excess of the maximum; or, (2) contested matters in which case the Member must pay the attorney’s fee for services, unless this Legal Services Contract provides coverage of contested matters and the service shall be in accordance with the Schedule of Services. A contested separation, divorce or civil annulment requires more than five hours of attorney time, involves disputed issues and both parties are represented by an attorney.
This service is limited to one use per year (representation seeking or defending against interim or subsequent-to-decree order shall constitute a separate use) and applies to the Member and Covered Family Members only for actions not involving the Member as an opposing party.
 
Prenuptial Agreement:
This service covers the preparation of an agreement by a Member and his or her fiancé/partner prior to their marriage or legal union (where allowed by law), outlining how property is to be divided in the event of separation, divorce or death of a spouse. Representation is provided only to the Member. The fiancé/partner must have separate counsel or must waive representation.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Name Change:
Services required to accomplish a legal name change for a Member and/or Covered Family Member.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Guardianship/Conservatorship:
Services required to establish a Member and/or Covered Family Member as the guardian(s) or conservator(s) of another. This benefit does not include fees for a court –appointed attorney for the child/conservatee.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Government Agency/Stepparent Adoption:
Legal representation for a Member and/or Covered Family Member of up to the maximum shown in the Schedule of Benefits in a governmental agency or stepparent adoption. An uncontested adoption does not involve significant disputed issues. This benefit does not include: (1) contested termination of parental rights; (2) fees for a court-appointed attorney for the child; or (3) adoptions(s) made through any agency other than a governmental agency. A contested adoption requires more than five hours of attorney time and involves disputed issues.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Juvenile Court Matters:
Services related to the representation of the dependent child of a Member and/or Covered Family Member in any juvenile court proceeding, provided the child’s interest is not in conflict with the Member’s and/or Covered Family Member’s interest. This benefit does not cover any matter that falls outside the jurisdiction of juvenile court or any matter that may be considered a felony.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Civil Litigation Defense
Civil Litigation Defense:
Services related to the representation of a Member and/or Covered Family Member who is a named defendant in a civil lawsuit (non-business related), up to and including the trial thereof. This benefit does not include: (1) any debt collection or family law matters; (2) lawsuits normally handled on a contingent fee basis; or (3) matters for which the Member/Covered Family Member has or is required by law to have insurance.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Criminal Defense
Traffic Tickets:
Services related to the representation of the Member and/or Covered Family Member in defense of any traffic ticket except driving under influence or vehicular homicide, including court hearings, negotiation with the prosecutor, trial, and counseling and preparing Member for self-representation at any hearings if chosen.
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Serious Traffic Matters:
Services related to the representation of a Member and/or Covered Family Member who is charged by governing authorities with moving traffic violation(s) and conviction could result in suspension or revocation of Member’s and/or Covered Family Member’s drivers’ license. 
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Administrative Proceeding:
Services related to the representation of a Member and/or Covered Family Member in an administrative proceeding relating to the suspension or revocation of driving privileges. 
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 
Misdemeanor Defense:
Defense of a Member and/or Covered Family Member in connection with criminal misdemeanor charges (not associated with any felony charge).
This benefit is limited to one use per year.
 

Obtaining Services

Reimbursement for Services
1. Members must call the Member Service Center to confirm eligibility and coverage prior to consulting with any attorney. The Member Service Center will assign a Participating Attorney to provide services relative to the matter. Failure to notify the Member Service Center within thirty (30) days following consultation with an attorney may result in a denial of coverage.
2. To obtain services under the Managed Case Rules:
Members and/or Covered Family Member must secure a confirmation letter from the Member Service Center prior to proceeding with an attorney.
 
The attorney must provide a written estimate of fees reflecting his or her best judgment as to the likely conduct of the case.
 
We will set a maximum attorney fee that takes into account the reasonable level of reimbursement for the proceeding and the proposed litigation strategy. Fees as a result of services in excess of the maximum attorney fee are the responsibility of the
Member and/or Covered Family Member.
3. Members actively receiving services under this Legal Services Contract must remain enrolled and continue to pay fees hereunder. All services will be subject to subrogation and coordination of benefit rules.
4. Upon completion of a Covered Service, the Member and/or Covered Family Member will be required by the Participating Attorney to sign a confirmation of completion. Failure to sign the confirmation may result in denial of the reimbursement and the Member/ Covered Family Member will be responsible for all legal fees.
5. If the Member and/or Covered Family Member pays for pre-authorized services provided by a Non-Participating Attorney, the Member must submit a reimbursement form (provided by Member Service Center) accompanied by an original itemized bill, proof of payment and supporting documentation sufficient to demonstrate the work completed in the matter within sixty (60) days after incurring the legal fees. Services provided to the Member and/or Covered Family Member for Covered Services are subject to the maximum as shown in the Schedule of Services.
 
Disputes Between Member and Covered Family Member
In the event that the Member and one of the Covered Family Members are involved as adversaries in a dispute that is a Covered Service, only the Member will be covered. If two or more Covered Family Members are involved in a dispute that is otherwise covered, no coverage will be provided. If two Members are involved as adversaries in a dispute that is a Covered Service, separate coverage for each Member will be provided.
 

Exclusions

The following benefits are excluded:
Appellate court proceedings, class actions, interventions, derivative action and amicus curiae filings.
The preparation and filing of individual, partnership or estate tax returns, appellate or administrative proceedings related to tax returns, litigation before the U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Claims or any other federal, state or other courts with respect to tax matters.
 
Matters relating to securities, trademark or patent matters; business or commercial interests, including, but not limited to, professional, partnership and/or corporate matters; matters involving the law or laws of jurisdictions other than the United States and its territories; any matters involving a government (domestic or foreign) entity or agency except as specifically described under Covered Services; farm related issues; matters involving commercial or rental property transactions, including the purchase, sale or lease of investment or income-producing property. A two-family house, whether or not used by the Member as his or her primary residence, is deemed an investment or income-producing property.
 
Legal services that are fully paid for or provided at no cost by any governmental agency, organization or insurance company.
 
Matters that the attorney deems frivolous, spurious, harassing, or unethical (collectively referred to as “frivolous”) or otherwise prohibited by the Model Rules of Professional Conduct of the state in which the attorney is licensed.
 
Costs associated with covered legal services, including but not limited to, all fines, court costs, penalties, sanctions, expert witness fees, bonds, bail bonds, attorney fees, exhibits, deposition costs, filing fees, transcripts, postage, telephone, photocopying, recording fees, messengers, judgments, jury fees, court reporter fees, investigative costs and all other incidental and out-of-pocket legal and litigation costs.
 
Any services on behalf of a Covered Family Member against the interests of the Member.
 
Any employment-related matter. This includes, but is not limited to, any dispute involving the Member’s employer or its affiliates, their officers or directors, the Member’s employee benefit plans, credit unions, programs or arrangements sponsored by an employer, or cases involving workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, sex harassment, age discrimination, etc.
 
Any dispute or proceeding against the following persons or entities, their officers, directors, employees, or agents: any person or entity involved in the sale, marketing, administration or other processes related to the group policy; Legal Plan Administrator or its subsidiaries; Claims Administrator or its subsidiaries; Policyholder; Member’s employer; Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and it’s parents, subsidiaries or any affiliated or successor company, plan underwriter or reinsurer; Plan Sponsor; or any Participating and/or Non-Participating Attorney, if the dispute or proceeding pertains to services provided under the group policy / Certificate of Coverage.
 
The Certificate of Coverage will not provide benefits in connection with pre-existing matters, which includes any matter where the Member and/or Covered Family Member is on notice as to a pending legal dispute or has previously contacted an attorney.
 
Where there are specific hours or dollar amounts provide in this Certificate of Coverage, or where a maximum is set under the Managed Case Rules, the Member will be responsible for all attorney fees incurred over the maximum. Additional exclusions related to each benefit are included in the Covered Services.
 

General Provisions

Attorney-Client Relationship
All attorneys are subject to the authority of the State Supreme Court and the State Bar of the state where they are licensed to practice. The Member’s relationship with an attorney is privileged and strictly confidential. We will not interfere in the attorney-client relationship, nor in the attorney’s independent exercise of his or her professional judgment. Attorneys are not certified specialists.
The Member shall authorize the Participating Attorney to provide the Legal Plan Administrator with information and supporting documentation on the number and type of services provided to the Member.
By using legal services benefits that are provided under the group policy / Certificate of Coverage, the Members agree that neither We, nor the Policyholder, nor any other person involved in the marketing or administration of the group policy, shall have any liability for the acts, errors or omissions of an attorney providing services, in whole or in part.
 
Non-Participating Attorney Services
If the Member already has an attorney, the Member may prefer to use her/him as a Non-Participating Attorney. To do so, the Member must first contact the Member Service Center and notify the representative of his/her intention to use a Non-Participating Attorney for a Covered Service. The Member Service Center will send the Member a claim form to request reimbursement. The Member’s reimbursement will be based on the reimbursement schedule as shown in the Schedule of Benefits. Reimbursement for a Non-Participating Attorney will not be less than the negotiated amount for a Participating Attorney. If a Member already has an attorney at the time he/she becomes a Member, the Legal Plan Administrator can offer to negotiate with the attorney on behalf of the Member, but will not guarantee the Plan Discounted Rate will be accepted by the attorney or offered by the Legal Plan Administrator.
 
Legal Terminology
The Member or Covered Family Member may call the Member Service Center to obtain a definition or explanation of any term used herein.
 
Coverage Territory
The coverage territory includes the United States and United States territories.
 
Refund Provision
In the event that the payment mode is other than monthly and the group contract is terminated or the Member elects to terminate the coverage, a pro-rata refund will be made in accordance with the laws of the Contractholder’s state.
 
Termination and Cancellation of Coverage
Coverage provided to the Member shall terminate upon the first of the following to occur:
a. Cancellation or termination of the group policy;
b. If applicable, the Member fails to re-enroll;
c. The Member is no longer associated with contractholder; or
d. The Member fails to remit payment when due, subject to the statutory grace period.
 
Coverage provided to a Covered Family Member of a Member shall terminate upon the first of the following to occur:
a. The Member’s coverage is cancelled or terminated; or
b. The family member ceases to qualify as a Covered Family Member as defined.
 
When coverage for a Member and/or Covered Family Member terminates and a matter is unresolved when coverage terminated, then any further legal work between said Member and/or Covered Family Member and the Participating Attorney shall be outside the scope and coverage of the group policy / Certificate of Coverage. The Participating Attorney shall not be obligated to provide any benefits and any further legal services shall be based upon an independent and separate fee agreement entered into, if at all, between the former Member and/or Covered Family Member and the attorney. If such an agreement is not entered into, then the Participating Attorney may withdraw from any further representation in accordance with applicable law and State Bar standards.
 
Portability
The Member may continue coverage under this Legal Services Contract by electing the option of portability when the Member no longer qualifies as an employee of the Contractholder or as a member of the group to which this Legal Services Contract is issued. The Member must apply for portability within sixty (60) days of this disqualifying event and make arrangements for payment. Portability coverage will take effect, subject to receipt of the initial payment, as of the date the Member’s coverage under this group Legal Services Contract terminates. Credit will be given for any applicable Waiting Period based on the number of months coverage was in force for the Member under this Legal Services Contract.
 
Conformed to Statute
Any terms of the group policy / Certificate of Coverage that are in conflict with the statutes of the jurisdiction where issued, are amended to conform to the statutes.
 
Assignment of Benefits
The benefits provided under this group policy / Certificate of Coverage are not assignable.
 
Miscellaneous
To obtain information or make a complaint:
You may call The LegalEASE Group’s toll-free telephone number for information or to make a complaint at 1-888-416-4313.
You may also write to The LegalEASE Group at:
5151 San Felipe, Suite 2300
Houston, TX 77057
 
You may contact the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation to obtain information on companies, coverages, rights or
complaints at 1-800-803-9202.
 
You may write the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation at:
P.O. Box 12157
Austin, Texas 78711
 
Payment or Reimbursement Disputes:
Should you have a dispute concerning your payment or about a reimbursement, you should contact The LegalEASE Group first. If the dispute is not resolved, you may contact the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Legal service contract companies and their sales representatives are regulated by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
 
Legal service contract companies and their sales representatives are regulated by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

 

Network

About the Network of Attorneys
When going in for surgery, you don’t want a surgeon that has a poor track record or only a couple years experience. We feel that a legal need is just as important.
The credentialing standards that we utilize to vet our providers is the most stringent in the country. We focus on years of experience, as well as insurance, review of E & O and Discipline, as well as penalty of perjury submissions with extensive back ground checks.
 
When it comes to finding an attorney…. an employee can waste days looking for the right one, even with a legal plan.
 
Our process has a Help Focus Infrastructure. We focus on our relationships with our Providers to help us help your employees, faster. Our Attorney Match Technology and dialogue with attorneys and members ensures the RIGHT help the first time. Matching an employee to the RIGHT help expedites solutions while saving time and stress.
 
Thanks to them matching me to the attorney, I got the help I needed. I would have not known who to call on my own.
Member– South Carolina 2009
 
Best Qualified Service-Oriented Attorneys
We understand how important it is to give your employees experienced help from quality lawyers when they need them.  For this reason, we have set up one of the most developed Network Attorney and Law Firm Providers that help your employees obtain professional, experienced and quality care when they face a personal legal problem.
Under the Provider Network, your employees will receive legal help from professionals with many of these service characteristics:
 
  •     Experience in the Legal Matter Needed
  •     Quality Time Spent in Consultations
  •     Years of Legal Training and Experience
  •     Up-to-date Legal Training Each Year
  •     Lawyers Who are Service-Oriented
  •     Lawyers Who Have a Solid Local Reputation in their Communities
  •     Exceptional Backgrounds
  •     Years of Courtroom and Trial Experience

 

Provider Standards of Care
 
The Network Provider shall strive to provide the highest quality of legal representation and service to Plan Members.
 
Plan Providers agree to the following:
 

• To comply at all times with the Rules of Civil Procedure and Criminal Procedure and the Rules of Professional Conduct applicable to the jurisdiction.

• To return member's calls promptly within one business day, and communicate with members such that a member and the member's family do not voice substantiated concerns over promptness or frequency of your or your firm's communication.

• To not enter continuances, adjournments, or the like without the member's comfort and consent.

• To not arrange for substitutions or stand-ins unless the member has been previously advised and that the member understands that you remain responsible for the case and to contact you if there is any concern or if proceedings do not go as planned.

• To always respect a member, their needs and family.

• To maintain a professional office, in staffing and appearance.

• To fully explain yourself such that a member has an understanding for the reasons behind your recommendations and suggestions, even if a member may not hire your firm.

• To not complete any additional work that will result in a fee to the member, where not covered by the member's plan, until a fee arrangement is fully understood by the member and there is a written agreement.

• To help each member individually and ensure that everything you do is in the interest of the member.

• To notify Legal Access if there is or may be the possibility of a conflict of interest or violation of ethical codes.

• To notify Legal Access if there may be a misunderstanding or potential service issue where there may be a complaint without breaking any client confidences.

• To direct any grievances or concerns, such as process procedure or billing, to Legal Access and not a member.

• To not refer any member to another attorney without the knowledge and consent of Legal Access if you cannot assist.

• To take responsibility and uphold the highest standards of customer service delivered by any and all firm staff or employees that have interaction with members.

• To communicate and cooperate with Legal Access on any concern, inquiry or issue and return any communication from Legal Access within one business day.

 
 
 
 
 



 

About

A legal plan backed by a strong partnership.

We believe you deserve to feel prepared and confident when facing a legal matter. Through a strong partnership, Nationwide and LegalEASE offer LegalGUARD, a robust product offering that protects members when it matters most. How we do it is by providing an in-depth pool of resources to accommodate your legal needs. What we do is provide value by creating unparalleled access to a network of skilled attorneys to cover your legal needs with options in convenient plans.
 
For more than 40 years, LegalEASE has established one of the oldest and most comprehensive networks of attorneys in the legal industry. With more than 17,000 participating plan attorneys, LegalEASE specializes in matching attorneys specific to client needs, when it matters most. For more information, visit LegalEASE.
 
Nationwide partnered with LegalEASE to provide members with solutions that offer support and protection from unexpected legal issues. At Nationwide, we put our members first, because we don't have shareholders. 
 
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, commercial, homeowners and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; banking and mortgages; specialty health; pet, motorcycle, boat and farm insurance. For more information, visit Nationwide.com.