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Q. 15. Do I Need an ERISA Plan If I Opt Out ?

Yes - by having a written ERISA plan in place and giving a summary plan description to employees, many of the employers legal duties under ERISA are satisfied. These written plans let everyone know what their responsibilities are and allow the employer to have greater authority in managing the plan itself. If there is no written plan, then ERISA may already have been violated and the employer may be subject to substantial penalties. In addition, the absence of any plan makes the employer extremely vulnerable to ERISA claims for breach of fiduciary duties, or possible even to state law for breach of contract or fraud. Having a written ERISA plan is therefore not only legally required, it simply makes good sense.

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