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Legal plan for RTC members

Guide to Retiree Legal Plan

The UFT and its Welfare Fund are always working to provide members with benefits that best meet their needs. The Welfare Fund has established a legal plan benefit with an elder law supplement for retirees. All retirees who are UFT members are automatically enrolled in the legal plan designed to help retirees with legal issues and estate planning. The plan provides certain consultation services free and others at discount.

Members are entitled to two legal security packages per plan year that includes forms you need to complete to receive a health care proxy, living will, durable power of attorney and last will and testament with “minor’s trust.” Individuals eligible to complete these packages include members, their spouses (or registered domestic partners), their parents and in-laws, and grandparents and in-laws.

The foundation of your estate plan should be a carefully drafted will, an instrument that disposes of your probate property at your death and names the person or persons who will administer your estate. A power of attorney is another legal tool. With a power of attorney, you give authority to a person (attorney-in-fact) to act on your behalf, generally in financial and legal matters. You must grant this authority when you are legally capable of doing so.

A living will and a health care proxy are two documents that allow you to implement your wishes concerning your medical treatment if you are not able to do so yourself. Each state has its own document. In some states it may be called an advanced directive. A living will allows you to express your wishes about health care decisions including medications, diagnostic procedures and withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment that prolongs the process of dying. A health care proxy allows you to appoint someone to decide about your health care treatment in the event you can no longer decide for yourself.

A trust can also be an important estate planning tool. There are many different types of trusts. For example, a supplemental needs trust addresses the issues of mentally incapacitated family members. There is a charge for trusts.

The UFTWF Retiree Programs holds annual legal plan/elder law meetings. At the meetings lawyers describe changes in the current laws.

If you move, be sure to fill out and update the “UFTWF Change of Status Form” so that you may continue to receive Legal Plan information.

Retiree Legal Plan with Elder Supplement

Who is covered?

All retirees who are UFT members are automatically enrolled in the legal plan.  Your spouse/domestic partner and all unmarried dependent children under the age of 25 who are members of your household are also covered. In the event of a retiree’s death before the expiration of the plan benefit year or his/her loss of eligibility, legal service benefits will be provided to members of the deceased’s family until the end of the plan benefit year.

What is the benefit?

The UFT Welfare Fund Retiree Legal Plan with Elder Law Supplement provides certain services free and others at a discount. This benefit is fully described in a separate booklet that is sent to you when you first become eligible for the benefit. The booklet is sent to you by the Plan Administrator, NYSUT Member Benefits, 800 Troy Schenectady Rd, Latham, NY 12110-9924, 800-626-8101. You will also receive an ID card and consultation coupons. The following is a brief outline of plan benefits:

  • Telephone advice and consultation with an attorney
  • Legal letters written and telephone calls made on your behalf
  • Guaranteed maximum fees for specific legal matters
  • Discounts for Uncontested Estates - (Probate)
  • National Referral Attorney Network
  • Elder Law Supplement
  • Last Will and Testament with Minors Trust
  • Discounts for Personal Injury cases
  • Document preparation at fixed rate
  • Office consultation with an attorney
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Proxy
  • Living Wills
  • Assistance with mortgage foreclosure
  • Assistance with debt consolidation
  • Advice on identity theft prevention and victims

The Elder Law Supplement allows UFT Retirees access to Elder Law Attorneys across the country. Elder Law Attorneys will provide the highest possible level of advice regarding estate planning, trusts, complex wills, Medicaid applications, nursing home planning, etc. This specialized panel is available to you at a 20 percent reduction from their usual fees. The free consultation coupon may not be used for a consultation with an Elder Law Attorney.

How are benefits obtained?

The National Legal Office (the law firm of Feldman, Kramer and Monaco, P.C.) is the clearinghouse for all legal matters. The attorneys at the National Legal Office will answer your legal questions, write letters and review documents at no cost. If necessary, they will refer you to an attorney in your area for a free consultation or additional legal services.

Note: Upon eligibility for this benefit as a retiree, NYSUT will automatically refund any premiums paid after your eligibility date if you were purchasing the NYSUT Legal Plan as an active employee.