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  • LEGAL SERVICES BENEFIT
    Updated On: Nov 15, 2019

    COVERED MEMBERS 

    Covered members include all employees of Suffolk County covered by the collective bargaining agreement between the County of Suffolk and the Superior Officers Association, Police Department, County of Suffolk, Inc., for whom contributions are payable to the Benefit Fund and any other employees of Suffolk County that may be deemed eligible by the Board of Trustees, for whom contributions are payable to the Suffolk County Superior Officers Association Benefit Fund. 

    If you have any questions as to whether you are covered, please contact the Fund Office. 

    ELIGIBILITY 

    In general, subject to the requirements pertaining to the definition of a covered member, members in covered categories are eligible for benefits as long as they are in an active payroll status or retirees who opt to continue coverage on a self-pay basis. Active status means the period for which contributions are made, or should have been made for the employee by the employer to the Suffolk County Superior Officers’ Association Benefit Fund. 

    If a covered member dies in the line of duty, legal services benefits will be continued for his or her eligible dependents for 90 days following the death. Note as well, the provisions of the Supplemental Eligibility Benefit described in the booklet.

    TERMINATION OF ELIGIBILITY 

    Your eligibility for benefits is terminated as of the effective date your employment is terminated, except as noted below. Should a legal proceeding be in process at the time of termination, the cost for legal representation after that date would be your responsibility. 

    Your dependent's eligibility for benefits is terminated as of the date your eligibility for benefits is terminated or as of the date on which your dependent ceases to be an eligible dependent, as defined in the book. 

    If you are eligible for benefits as the widow or widower of a member who died in the line of duty, your eligibility for benefits terminates as of the date of remarriage. Children who are eligible dependents of a member who died in the line of duty remain eligible for benefits for 90 days after their date of death or until they cease to be an eligible dependent as defined in at pages 4-5, if earlier. Note as well, the provisions of the Supplementary Eligibility Benefit described in this booklet. 

    How To Use The Legal Services Plan and General Rules On Its Operation 

    If you wish to make an appointment to consult a lawyer for benefits provided by the Legal Services Plan, call the panel law firm, Mirkin & Gordon, P.C., at (516) 466- 6030. If you have any questions concerning the benefits offered by the plan, call either the panel law firm or the Administrative Offices of the Fund at (631) 654-0900. Once an appointment is arranged, and when appropriate, a set of the necessary forms wiII be provided to you with instructions for their completion. You should bring these forms with you at the time of your appointment. 

    You will be provided with an attorney from the panel law firm selected by the Board of Trustees. This firm will provide the covered member with the benefits of the legal plan. Your relationship with this law firm will be that of attorney and client. The attorney-client relationship will be exclusively between the covered member and the law firm. No employee or Trustee of the Benefit Fund can interfere with this relationship. 

    In some instances, specifically set forth in this booklet, the spouse and dependents of a member are eligible for legal services benefits. In those cases, the member must first approve the representation by the panel law firm of the member's spouse or dependent. 

    The Plan is designed to help pay for covered legal services. You should explore, with an attorney of the law firm, the cost involved for any problem for which you seek help so that you and the law firm will have a working concept of what services are covered as well as what you will have to pay. Remember, however, that it is not always possible to estimate total costs. When, after a general consultation with the panel law firm, the covered member decides to retain the panel law firm, he/she will then be required to make the appropriate initial payment as indicated in the plan of benefits. 

    A covered member is also free at anytime to discontinue the services of the panel law firm and, if he/she so desires, to secure the services of a non-panel attorney. However, in such an event the Benefit Fund will not be responsible for or absorb any part of the fees or charges of such other attorneys. In addition, the covered member continues to be obligated to the panel law firm for any cost incurred above the scheduled amount. 

    The panel law firm may, under exceptional circumstances, at any time (as is customary in the case of independent retention of private attorneys) not undertake, discontinue or withdraw from representation of any covered member with appropriate adjustment of fees. In such cases, the covered member is free to secure his/her own counsel; however, the Benefit Fund will not absorb nor be responsible for any of the fees or charges of a non-panel attorney. 

    There is no subscription or registration fee to be paid by any covered active member in order to entitle him/her to the benefits of the legal plan. 

    In instances where two covered members are involved in the same controversy or proceeding (and both members would have the right to the benefit under the rules of the plan) each member will be provided with an attorney or a stipend by the Benefit Fund, as determined by the Board of Trustees. 

    APPEALS TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES 

    The Board of Trustees adopts rules and regulations for the payment of benefits, and all provisions in this booklet are subject to such rules and regulations and to the Agreement and Declaration of Trust, which established the Fund and governs its actions. 

    A covered member may request a review of action taken by the Fund Office by submitting an appeal, in writing, to the Board of Trustees within 60 days after the action of the Fund Office. Such appeal should be addressed to the Board of Trustees, Suffolk County SOA Benefit Fund, 2518 Montauk Highway, Brookhaven, New York 11719. The Trustees shall act on the appeal within a reasonable period of time and render their decision in writing. 

    CORRESPONDENCE 

    All correspondence addressed to the Fund must contain the following essential items of information: 

    1. Name of member 

    2. Address 

    3. Social Security Number 


    GENERAL CONSULTATION BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - All covered members are entitled to this benefit. 

    What is the Benefit - This benefit provides covered members with an opportunity to consult with an attorney from a panel law firm concerning any legal questions whatsoever.* This benefit is made available by the Fund at no charge to a covered member. 

    How to Obtain the Benefit - To obtain the General Consultation benefit, simply contact the Fund Office or call the panel law firm directly to request a consultation appointment. At the time of the consultation, you and an attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 

    * The General Consultation Benefit does not include representation. If such representation involves a covered matter, the Fund will pay the cost of representation in accordance with its Benefit Schedule. Of course, if the matter is not covered, then any further legal costs must be borne directly by the member. 


    DOCUMENT REVIEW BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - All covered members are entitled to this benefit. 

    What is the Benefit - This benefit provides professional review and interpretation by an attorney from a panel law firm, at no expense to the covered member, of all legal documents such as guarantees, warranties, installment purchase agreements, loans, leases, insurance policies and court papers.* There is no limitation placed upon the utilization of this benefit. A covered member may use the Document Review Benefit as many times during the year as proves necessary at no cost to the member. 

    Exclusions and Limitations 

    The following documents are not included in the Document Review Benefit: 

    A. Tax Returns 

    B. Work that is being prepared by an attorney other than a panel law firm attorney at the time of the Document Review Benefit; e.g., Prenuptual Agreement. 

    How to Obtain the Benefit - To obtain the Document Review Benefit, simply contact the Fund Office or call the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of the appointment, you and an attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 

    * The Document Review Benefit provides review and interpretation of documents only. The Document Review Benefit does not include representation. If such representation involves a covered matter, the Fund will pay the cost of representation in accordance with its Benefit Schedule. Of course, if the matter is not covered, then any further legal costs must be borne directly by the member. 


    LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - All covered members and their spouses, parent(s) and/or parent(s)-in-law are entitled to this benefit. 

    What is the Benefit - The benefit provides covered members and their spouses (if agreeable to the member) parent(s) and/or parent(s)-in-law with the opportunity to have their Last Will and Testament prepared and executed under the supervision of an attorney from a panel law firm. 

    How to Obtain the Benefit - To obtain the Last Will and Testament Benefit, either you or your spouse should contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. If both husband and wife desire a Will, it is recommended that they make appointments together. At the time of the appointment, you and an attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 


    LIVING WILL/HEALTH CARE PROXY/POWER OF ATTORNEY BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - All covered members and their spouses, parent(s) and/or parent(s)-in-law, are entitled to this benefit. Health proxies and durable powers of attorney are also covered for adult children of members, provided the adult child appoints the member his/her representative/proxy. 

    What is the Benefit- The benefit provides covered members and their spouses with the opportunity to have a Living Will, Health Care Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney prepared and executed under the supervision of an attorney from a panel law firm. 

    A Living Will/Health Care Proxy serves as a clear, documented expression of an individual's carefully considered intention to have life-sustaining procedures withheld or withdrawn in the event they were to suffer from a catastrophic illness, disease, or injury from which there is little likelihood that they would recover to enjoy a meaningful quality of life. 

    A Power of Attorney appoints and individual of your choosing to conduct your affairs immediately upon the happening of a catastrophic event, which results in your incapacity. 

    How to Obtain the Benefit - To obtain the Living Will /Health Care Proxy/Power of Attorney benefit, either you or your spouse should contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. If both husband and wife desire a Living Will /Health Care Proxy/Power of Attorney, it is recommended that they make appointments together. At the time of the appointment, you and an attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 


    ESTATES AND ADMINISTRATION BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - Any covered member or eligible dependent* is entitled to this benefit. 

    *Eligible dependents include your spouse and your unmarried dependent children up to their 19th birthday and between their 19th and 25th birthdays if they are full time students in an accredited educational institution. Also included as covered dependents are unmarried children regardless of age who are incapable of self-sustaining employment by reason of mental retardation or physical incapability provided such incapability existed prior to their attainment of age 19 and further provided that such children reside with the covered member or resided with the covered member during the member's lifetime and are (or were) wholly dependent upon the covered member for support. 

    What is the Benefit - This benefit provides covered members, their spouses and eligible dependents who are named Executors in a will or if there is no will, if you or your eligible dependent would qualify, under the laws of intestacy, to serve as Administrator of the estate, with all legal services (through a panel attorney) which may be required in connection with the handling of an estate from its inception (the probate of a Will or Petition for Letters of Administration where there is no Will), through all phases of estate administration including preparation of estate tax returns and "winding-up" of the estate (through accountings and distribution). In respect to the estate of a deceased member, the same benefits are provided to the spouse and/or eligible dependent(s) in those instances where the spouse or eligible dependents would be entitled to be appointed Executor(s) or Administrator(s). 

    The panel law firm has agreed to provide legal representation in these matters with a 25% reduction in its hourly rate, which, for 2019 is $450.00. (thus, $337.00 per hour for 20194). 

    How to Obtain the Benefit - To obtain the Estates and Administration Benefit, simply contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of the appointment, you and an attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 

    Please Note: This benefit does not provide legal services of an adversarial nature, e.g., to contest an existing Will. 


    HOMEOWNER RIGHTS BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - Any covered member who owns a private dwelling, a condominium or co-operative apartment as a primary residence or is in the process of purchasing a primary residence or refinancing a mortgage on a primary residence located in the geographic area covered by the plan. 

    What is the Benefit - This benefit has two components: 

    (1) Legal advice or representation for the sale or purchase of a private dwelling, condominium or co-operative apartment in which the member resides or plans to primarily reside; or the purchase only of unimproved property with the intention of building a home in which the member expects to primarily reside, or the refinancing of a mortgage of a primary residence. The legal services plan does not provide representation in any phase of the construction of a home or in any controversy, dispute, proceeding or matter arising from the construction of any home, including one in which the member expects to primarily reside, unless special circumstance are demonstrated and representation is approved by the Trustees. 

    (2) Legal advice or representation in the defense of a mortgage foreclosure proceeding involving any of the above stated primary residences. 

    Please call the office for the current fee schedule.

    It should be noted that this benefit does not include aspects of residential problems that involve title searches or title insurance nor the costs of same. 

    The second component of the Homeowner Rights Benefit is legal representation through a panel law firm attorney in defense of a proceeding to foreclose a mortgage on a dwelling which the member owns and in which the member primarily resides. A mortgage foreclosure problem may be resolved after consultation with a panel attorney or it may require the contesting of any action to foreclose the mortgage in the appropriate court. 

    Please call the office for the current fee schedule.

    How to Obtain the Benefit - To obtain the Homeowner Rights Benefit, simply contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of the appointment, you and an attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 


    DIVORCE PROCEEDING BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - Any covered member is entitled to this benefit. 

    What is the Benefit - Divorce proceedings may be categorized as uncontested or contested. The Fund provides coverage for all steps of the legal process in uncontested divorce proceedings. 

    Please call the office for the current fee schedule.

    How to Obtain the Benefit - To obtain the Divorce Proceeding Benefit, simply contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of appointment, you and the attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate form.


    LEGAL SEPARATION BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - Any covered member who desires to seek separation from his or her spouse by means of a separation agreement mutually agreed upon by the parties or by relief through the court by instituting an action for an uncontested legal separation. 

    What is the Benefit - A separation may be categorized as uncontested or contested. The Fund provides coverage through a panel law firm for all steps of the legal process for an uncontested separation. 

    The Fund provides coverage through a panel law firm for all necessary legal services which the preparation and negotiation of a separation agreement may require. The separation agreement may be prepared and executed with a minimum of consultation or it may necessitate extensive negotiation with opposing counsel and spouse. 

    Please call the office for the current fee schedule.

    How to Obtain the Benefit - To obtain the Legal Separation Benefit, simply contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of appointment, you and the attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 


    ANNULMENT PROCEEDING BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - Any covered member is entitled to this benefit. 

    What is the Benefit - Annulment proceedings may be categorized as uncontested or contested. The Fund provides coverage for all steps of the legal process in the uncontested category of annulment proceedings. 

    Please call the office for the current fee schedule.

    How to Obtain the Benefit -To obtain the Annulment Proceeding Benefit, simply contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of appointment, you and an attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 


    CUSTODY BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - Any covered member who is a Defendant or a Plaintiff in this type of action. 

    What is the Benefit - A Custody dispute may be resolved without litigation or it may necessitate litigation. 

    (1) Custody Dispute Resolved Without Litigation -the Fund provides coverage through a panel law firm for all necessary legal services which the settlement of a Custody dispute may necessitate. A Custody dispute that is settled without litigation may be resolved with a minimum of consultation and with the drafting of relatively simple stipulation agreements. On the other hand, a Custody dispute may necessitate extensive negotiations and highly complicated stipulations and/or agreements. 

    Please call the office for the current fee schedule.

    (2) Custody Dispute with Litigation - where the parties cannot agree in any given Custody situation, the dispute between them is determined by an action in court. The following schedule indicates the possible legal services in a Custody action necessitating litigation and the amount to be paid by the member in each circumstance: 

    Please call the office for the current fee schedule.

    How to Obtain Benefit - To obtain the Custody Benefit simply contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of the appointment, you and an attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 


    ADOPTION BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - Any covered member who seeks representation in an Adoption Proceeding. 

    What is the Benefit - The Fund will provide a covered member with an attorney from a panel law firm to represent the member in formal adoption proceedings. This benefit does not include payment of any fees or expenses to adoption agencies or any other agencies but is limited to those services normally rendered by an attorney to formalize an adoption. After all arrangements have been agreed upon, the panel attorney will prepare all petitions and allied papers and will appear in court with the parties in support of the adoption if required. 

    Please call the office for the current fee schedule.

    How to Obtain the Benefit - To obtain the Adoption Benefit, simply contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of the appointment, you and an attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 


    FAMILY COURT BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - Any covered member who is a Defendant or a Plaintiff in an appropriate Family Court action. 

    What is the Benefit- Included for coverage under the Fund Family Court Benefit is the following: Prosecution or defense of actions or proceedings involving paternity, non-support or modification of orders relating thereto. The Fund provides coverage through a panel law firm for all necessary legal services in these matters. A problem in the Family Court area may be successfully resolved after consultation with the panel attorney or, it may necessitate instituting preliminary proceedings which will result in actual court litigation. 

    Please call the office for the current fee schedule.

    How to Obtain the Benefit-To obtain the Family Court Benefit, simply contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of appointment, you and an attorney from a panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 


    PERSONAL BANKRUPTCY BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - All covered members are entitled to this benefit. 

    What is the Benefit - The Fund provides coverage through a panel law firm for all necessary conferences and legal services in the preparation of a petition to file for personal bankruptcy. Such a petition and schedules to file for personal bankruptcy may be finalized with a minimum of consultation and negotiation or it may involve a number of exceedingly complex steps. In some situations it may be advisable to arrange common law settlements which will require attendance at meetings with creditors and settlement agreements.

    Please call the office for the current fee schedule.

    How to Obtain the Benefit - To obtain the Personal Bankruptcy Benefit, simply contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of appointment, you and an attorney from a panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 


    CHANGE OF NAME BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - Any covered member is entitled to this benefit. 

    What is the Benefit - This benefit provides legal advice and representation in the Change of Name procedure. Counsel will file all appropriate papers and represent the member in the change of name process. 

    Please call the office for the current fee schedule.

    How to Obtain the Benefit- To obtain the Change of Name Benefit, simply contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of the appointment, you and an attorney from a panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 


    GUARDIANSHIP BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - Any covered member who seeks representation in a Legal Guardianship proceeding. 

    What is the Benefit - The Fund will provide a covered member with an attorney from a panel law firm to represent the member in formal guardianship proceedings. Guardianship may be necessary when minors are entitled to a Will bequest or insurance proceeds. Parents of these minors may have to apply to the court for guardianship in order to properly invest such funds. The panel attorney will prepare all petitions and supporting papers and will appear in court with the parties in support of the guardianship, if required. 

    Please call the office for the current fee schedule.

    How to Obtain the Benefit - To obtain the Guardianship Benefit, simply contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of the appointment, you and an attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 


    PLANNING FOR THE ELDERLY 

    Who ls Eligible - All covered members and their spouses are entitled to this benefit. 

    What is the Benefit - This benefit provides covered members with an opportunity to consult with an attorney from the panel law firm on matters involving the placement of elderly parent(s) in nursing homes, Medicare entitlements that are available, and health care planning for the elderly. This benefit includes the preparation of powers of attorney and is offered at no out-of-pocket expense. 

    How to Obtain the Benefit-To obtain the Planning for the Elderly Benefit, either you or your spouse should contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. 


    PERSONAL INJURY (NEGLIGENCE) BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - Any covered member, as well as all members of his or her family. 

    What is the Benefit - Under our Plan, legal counsel is provided to represent the covered member o family member for all legal services, through a trial if necessary, in connection with the prosecution of a claim for personal injuries suffered as a consequence of negligence in those cases which legal counsel believes are worthy of prosecution. 

    The individual will be represented on the basis of a contingent fee of 33 1/3% of the net sum recovered. 

    What does "Contingent Fee" mean* - It means that the fee is contingent upon a recovery, whether by suit, settlement or otherwise. Thus, if there is no recovery, there is no fee. Conversely, the more that is recovered, the greater the fee - all dependent upon a successful conclusion of the matter. 

    *As customary, whether the litigation is successful or not, you are required to reimburse the panel law firm for all disbursements, charges and other expenses such as medical and police reports, investigations, witness fees, etc. Also, as is customary, in computing this contingent fee, liens in favor of hospitals, doctors, etc., or other statutory liens upon recovery are not to be deducted. Such amounts would be paid out of the injured party's share of the recovery. 

    How to Obtain the Benefit - To obtain the benefit, simply contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of the appointment, you and an attorney from a panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 


    LEGAL DEFENSE BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - Any covered member who is a defendant in a situation involving his/her rights in resisting a claim and has had a legal action started against him/her, which does not fall within any of the specified benefits listed in the booklet.* 

    What is the Benefit - The Fund provides coverage through a panel law firm for all necessary legal services arising from the defense of a lawsuit or proceeding commenced against a covered member in courts and administrative agencies. The following are only examples of some of the courts and agencies in which the Fund provides coverage under the Legal Defense Benefit: 

    Supreme, Surrogate's and District Courts of Suffolk County; United States District Court fort he Eastern and Southern Districts of New York; United States Customs Court; Supreme, Surrogate's and County Courts of New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Richmond, Bronx, Nassau and Rockland Counties; Civil Courts of New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Richmond and Bronx Counties; District Courts of Nassau County; Administrative Agencies and Bureaus. 

    *Please note that special service benefits such as those involving adoption proceedings and homeowner proceedings are covered by the schedules contained under those specific headings in this booklet. 

    This benefit includes, for example, the legal defense cost of a lawsuit alleging breach of contract or against lawsuits involving garnishment or medical expense claims. A covered member's problem may be successfully resolved after consultation with a panel attorney or it may necessitate the steps leading to and including your defense in litigation or before an administrative agency. This benefit does not include the legal defense of any controversy, dispute or proceeding of a matter involving the member's business, commercial or investment interest. 

    You are entitled to representation in no more than one legal defense matter every two calendar years. Should you require representation in additional legal defense matters in a calendar year, you may submit a written request for consideration to the Fund’s Board of Trustees, which must include information supporting your need. Upon consideration of your request, the Trustees will render a written decision within a reasonable period of time. 

    If a covered member is sued jointly with another defendant, including a spouse/domestic partner, the matter will not be covered by the Fund unless special circumstances are presented to the Trustees and approved. You may submit a written request for consideration to the Fund’s Board of Trustees outlining your special circumstances to which the Trustees will render a written decision within a reasonable period of time. 

    Please call the office for the current fee schedule.

    How to Obtain the Benefit - To obtain this benefit, simply contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of the appointment, you and an attorney from a panel law firm will complete the appropriate form. 


    IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION BENEFIT 

    Who is eligible - Any member who wishes legal consultation in connection with an identity or personal information theft issue is covered by this benefit. 

    What is the benefit - The Fund provides coverage through the panel law firm for a member to consult with an attorney if the member believes he/she has been the victim of an act of identity or personal information theft including but not limited to the following examples: 

    · using or opening of a credit card account in the member’s name, fraudulently; 

    · opening telecommunications or utility accounts in the member’s name, fraudulently; 

    · passing bad checks or opening a new bank account in the member’s name, without authorization; and 

    · obtaining a loan in the member’s name, fraudulently. 

    The panel law firm will provide consultation and assistance* to a member in connection with their contacting and reporting an act of identity theft to the three major credit bureaus, the security departments of the appropriate creditors or financial institutions, the police and the Federal Trade Commission. 

    The Fund makes this benefit available at no charge to member. 

    How is the Identity Theft Benefit Obtained - To obtain the Identity Theft Benefit, simply contact the Fund office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of your appointment, you and an attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate forms. 

    *The Identity Theft Benefit does not include representation in litigation.


    COUNSELING OF UNEMANCIPATED* CHILDREN BENEFIT 

    Who is eligible - Upon application of the member/parent, your unemancipated child, who is over 18 years of age and qualifies as an eligible dependent child (as defined by the rules of the Fund). 

    What is the benefit - The Fund provides coverage through the panel law firm for consultation and document review services to your unemancipated child on matters involving the following: 

    · Legal responsibilities that affect your child when they turn age 18, whether or not they are emancipated; 

    · Contract review; 

    · Lease review and real estate issues; 

    · Agreements and documents associated with educational institutions (i.e. universities and colleges); 

    · Loan agreements and other credit matters; and 

    · Identity theft matters. 

    How is this benefit obtained - To obtain the Counseling of Unemancipated Children Benefit, simply contact the Fund to request an appointment for your child. At the time of the appointment, your child and an attorney from the panel firm will complete the appropriate forms. 

    Exclusions: 

    Excluded from the Counseling of Unemancipated Children Benefit is advice or consultation in any controversy, dispute or proceeding with the covered member/parent. 

    *An unemancipated child is any dependent child (as defined by the rules of the Fund) who is over 18 years of age and fully dependent on you/the member for support. 


    APPOINTMENT OF AGENT TO CONTROL DISPOSITION OF REMAINS BENEFIT 

    Who is eligible - Any covered member, covered member’s spouse, parent(s) and/or parent(s)-in-law. 

    What is the benefit - This benefit provides you, your spouse, your parent(s), and/or parent(s)-in-law with the opportunity to have an Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains document prepared and executed under the supervision of an attorney from the panel law firm. 

    An Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains serves as a clear documented designation of a burial agent and expression of special directions of how the individual’s burial is to be accomplished. 

    The Fund makes this benefit available at no charge to member. 

    How is the benefit Obtained - To obtain the Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains benefit, simply contact the Fund office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of your appointment, you and an attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate forms. 


    DESIGNATION OF PERSON IN PARENTAL RELATION BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - You are eligible if you are a covered member. 

    What is the Benefit - This benefit provides the covered member with the opportunity to have a Designation of Person in Parental Relation (“Designation”) prepared and executed under the supervision of an attorney from the panel law firm. 

    A Designation designates another person (the “Designee”) as a person in parental relation to a minor or incapacitated person to act on his\her\their behalf in matters relating to education and health care. The Designation is a very useful document for parents who must leave their child with a caregiver for a limited period of time. If drafted properly, the Designation will be valid for up to 6 months. 

    NOTE: With respect to a covered member who wishes to be named Designee, an attorney from the panel law firm will provide a special consultation to confirm that a Designation one may receive is in conformity with the law. 

    How to Obtain the Benefit - To obtain the Designation of Person in Parental Relation Benefit, you should contact the Fund office or the panel law firm directly to request an appointment. At the time of the appointment, you and an attorney from the panel law firm will complete the appropriate forms. 


    APPEALS BENEFIT 

    Who is Eligible - Any covered member is entitled to the Appeals Benefit. 

    What is the Benefit - A covered member will be provided with an attorney from a panel law firm in connection with the prosecution or defense of any appeal from a final determination in any civil action in either a court of law or administrative agency. This benefit is available to you whether or not you used an attorney from the Fund's panel law firm in the original action. 

    This benefit provides legal representation for appeals in the following courts: the Appellate Term or Appellate Division in the First or Second Departments of the Supreme Court of the State of New York; the New York State Court of Appeals; the United States Court of Appeals for Second Circuit (which has jurisdiction over matters adjudicated in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York including Manhattan, Bronx, Columbia, Dutchess, Kings, Greene, New York, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester, Nassau, Queens, Richmond and Suffolk Counties). 

    The amount to be paid by the member varies with the particular appeals court. 

    In addition, the member is obligated to pay a small portion of the cost of printing the Record on Appeal. 

    Please call the office for the current fee schedule.

    How to Obtain the Benefit - Because of the very high cost of initiating appeals, this extraordinary benefit will be provided only when an appeal action is appropriate and would have a likelihood of success. To determine whether an appeal would be beneficial to the member, an attorney from the panel law firm will review the matter to assess the likelihood of a successful appeal action before the Fund provides this benefit. The panel attorney must obtain the approval of the Board of Trustees prior to filing any appeal. Therefore, to obtain the benefit, contact the Fund Office or the panel law firm directly and arrangements will be made for a review of all relevant material by a panel attorney. 


    Supplemental Eligibility 

    EXTENSION OF COVERAGE TO FAMILY 

    The supplemental benefit of Extension of Coverage to Family continues coverage after the death of a member as follows: 

    Who is Eligible - The eligible spouse and/or dependents of a deceased covered member (as defined in pages 4-5). 

    What is the Benefit - The Fund provides through a panel law firm continued coverage for a period of ninety (90) days after the death of a covered member for all legal services benefits for a spouse or eligible dependent to the same extent that they were entitled to receive such benefit on the date of the decedent's death. This benefit is designed to give peace of mind and assistance during a trying period of time and to alleviate pressures which may arise during such period. 

    How to Obtain the Benefit - Follow the information provided in the description for whichever benefit or benefits you may need. If you have any questions at any time, write or call the Fund Office for assistance. 


    General Exclusions From All Benefits of the Legal Services Plan 

    All legal services provided by the Fund have been specifically stated and described. Any legal service that has not been so described can be considered excluded from the Fund Plan of Benefits. 

    However, in order to guide the member in his/her utilization of the Fund benefit package, this section lists specifically, but without limitation, particular exclusions from the Plan: 

    - Any controversy, dispute or proceeding directed against the Suffolk County Superior Officers Association or any of its affiliated bodies, e.g., the S.O.A. Benefit Fund, or any officers, agents or attorneys of the Suffolk County Superior Officers Association and its affiliated bodies. 

    - Any controversy, dispute or proceeding with or against the employer, or its employees, officers or agents and its affiliated bodies. 

    - Any controversy, dispute or proceeding in which representation on a contingent fee basis is normally and customarily available or where the fee is payable by virtue of statute or by order of court. 

    - Class actions or interventions or amicus curiae activities. Two or more parties may not pool or combine their benefits for the purpose of asserting a claim in which they have a mutual interest. 

    - Any matter concerning the payment of income tax including, but not limited to, preparation or filing of income tax returns. 

    - The Fund will not pay claims for services or advice when such activity involves a duplication of the same service or advice previously obtained in connection with the same problem and previously claimed for under the plan. 

    - The Fund will not pay court costs and/or filing fees, nor in any event will the Fund pay fines, penalties or amounts in which the member or eligible dependent may be cast in judgment. 

    - Any controversy, action, proceeding, or dispute in which legal services are available through insurance or through any governmental agency or attorney (Federal, State or local). 

    - Any controversy, dispute or proceeding which arose prior to the member's eligibility to receive benefits under the Plan. 

    - Any matter in which the member has already retained an attorney or appeared pro se. 

    - Any legal expenses incurred for a matter which commenced before the member became eligible to receive a benefit under the Plan. 

    - Any controversy, dispute, proceeding or matter which involves a member's business, commercial or investment interest. 

    - Any controversy, dispute or proceeding in which the Fund would be prohibited from defraying the cost of legal services by any provisions of the law. 

    - Any controversy, dispute, proceeding or matter that cannot be litigated or otherwise handled within Nassau and Suffolk Counties or New York City as described in the Legal Defense Benefit Section. 

    - The Fund will not cover non-members (e.g. spouses, parents, parents-in-law, etc.) on a first time basis or subsequent to coverage for a prior matter, without the express written consent of the member. 

    IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS WITH REGARD TO COVERAGE, BENEFITS OR EXCLUSIONS, PLEASE CONTACT THE FUND OFFICE (631) 654-0900.





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