Cindy M. Benedict is an employee benefits paralegal in the South Bend, Indiana, office of Barnes & Thornburg. Cindy joined the firm in January 1996 and concentrates primarily in the areas of employee benefits, corporate transactions and is the firm's 401(k)/Pension Administrator.
Cindy specializes in the numerous legal issues surrounding employee benefits.
This encompasses a broad spectrum of activities including: assisting clients with qualified retirement plan design and compliance matters; creating employee communication documents (annual safe harbor notices, summary plan descriptions, summaries of material modifications, and distribution forms); drafting and amending individually designed qualified plans and administrative forms; reviewing qualified domestic relations orders; preparing the necessary forms and documentation for submission of qualified plans to the IRS for a determination letter or review under the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (voluntary compliance program - 'VCP'); assisting clients with steps necessary to self-correct plan administration matters under the VCP; drafting responses to issues raised by the IRS on specific client plans; preparing documentation needed to terminate a qualified plan (including certain required PBGC forms for a defined benefit plan); performing audits for clients relating to retirement plan compliance; assisting with notices to clients about the potential impact of new legal developments upon qualified and non-qualified plans; and drafting "cafeteria' plans and summary plan descriptions.
Cindy's corporate transaction work has been multifaceted depending on the particular transaction. Her involvement has included reviewing all employee benefit plans and retirement plans for compliance and transition purposes, organizing and analyzing other corporate, contract and real estate due diligence documentation, drafting closing documents, and when fully utilized may be generally described as a document and project coordinator.
In February 2014 Cindy assumed the role as the firm's 401(k)/Pension Administrator. She is responsible for the daily, firm-wide operations of the 401(k)/Profit Sharing Plan and Cash Balance Plan. The 401(k)/Pension Administrator's role and responsibilities provides Cindy with a unique viewpoint and understanding of the challenges our clients' HR and finance team members face in administering retirement plans for compliance, implementing best practices and addressing the needs of the employees.
Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg, Cindy was employed by a retirement plan administration firm as a pension and employee benefits paralegal and by the law firms of Muldoon, Murphy & Faucette and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Washington, D.C., as a corporate finance and regulatory paralegal primarily in initial public offerings and mergers/acquisitions of financial institutions.