Recently I had the opportunity to visit Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters to conduct a “lunch and learn” with some of their employees. The topic? Estate planning! While not the most thrilling of topics, estate planning is an important part of financial wellness no matter your age — it is a useful tool for ensuring that your last wishes are followed should the unthinkable happen — you pass away or become incapacitated.
Joining me was Rocket Lawyer On-Call Attorney Mark Ruiz, who spoke about the importance of estate planning by discussing a few common types. Following Mark’s presentation, I gave a demonstration of how Rocket Lawyer could be used to create an estate plan. After a few minutes, someone asked: “This all sounds great, but it sounds really expensive. How much will this cost me to do?”
I smiled, and said: “It’s free. It won’t cost you a cent.”
Twitter, along with several other big-name companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, participates in our Corporate Benefit Program. Participating companies offer every single one of their employees a free Rocket Lawyer membership as an employee benefit — for example, if a Twitter employee has a legal issue, question or problem, they can log into their account and get it taken care of.
This practice is a radical departure from your grandfather’s legal benefit, which would take the form of a voluntary, payroll deducted legal insurance or pre-paid legal type product. Why would a company opt to open their own pocketbooks and provide a service like Rocket Lawyer, instead of just putting it on a benefits menu and letting the employee decide if they want it or not?
The reason is that legal is a wellness benefit. Legal events like divorce, a death in the family, tenant or landlord issues, or even selling a car are time consuming, expensive and stressful. A voluntary legal benefit really comes in handy for the 1-3 percent of employees who opt into it, but the average American has 1.6 legal events a year.
What happens when one of the other 97 percent have a legal issue?
Usually, they have no choice but to try the traditional legal system; finding an attorney they aren’t sure they can trust, hiring them for a hefty fee and fretting through the entire process. This negatively impacts productivity, and the productivity of those around them.
The corporate sponsored benefit acts like a deep dive into the legal pillar of an EAP. In the voluntary world, you offer a benefit just to say that you do. The sponsored plan is more about delivering tangible productivity and wellness benefits by supporting all employees, so that when the unexpected happens, they can turn to a tool that’s simple, quick, and effective.