ERISA provides every employee benefit plan shall be established and maintained pursuant to a written instrument.
Such plan instrument shall provide for one or more named fiduciaries who jointly or severally have authority to control and manage the operation and administration of the plan.
Exactly what constitutes a “written instrument” can be debated. There are certain provisions required to be in a plan document and certain provisions that are wise to have in a plan document and others that have historically been included. The style of a health and welfare plan will vary according to the drafter.
You should have a written plan document for each ERISA welfare plan.
In addition to our own Frequently Asked Questions on plan documents, you can find additional FAQ’s in THIS SECTION of the Department of Labor’s website.