Drawing upon his career experience as both an employee benefits attorney in private practice and as in-house employee benefits counsel for two large publicly traded companies, Sam Wilkerson represents public, private, tax-exempt and governmental entities of all sizes on a broad range of employee benefits and executive compensation matters.
A significant portion of Sam’s practice is devoted to advising clients on the design, implementation, and administration of retirement plans, health and welfare plans, and executive compensation programs. He also routinely counsels clients on cost-containment strategies for employee benefit plans as well as employee benefit plan compliance with a myriad of applicable laws, including the Internal Revenue Code, ERISA, Affordable Care Act, COBRA, HIPAA, and USERRA.
Sam joined McAfee & Taft in 2023 after working six years as the managing attorney responsible for overseeing the design, administration and compliance of the employee benefits and executive compensation plans for one of the nation’s largest publicly traded natural gas utilities. The Kansas native’s prior career experience also includes working as an employee benefits attorney for a publicly traded investment management and financial planning company, and as an attorney in private practice with a large Kansas City-based law firm for seven years.Download Bio (PDF)
- Advises clients on the design, implementation and administration of qualified retirement plans (401(k) plans, profit sharing plans, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and defined benefit/pension plans, 403(b) plans, 457(b) plans, 457(f) plans, nonqualified deferred compensation plans, short and long-term incentive plans, equity compensation, executive compensation agreements (employment, retention and severance), health and welfare plans, and voluntary employees’ beneficiary associations (VEBAs).
- Advises clients on compliance with Internal Revenue Code Sections 409A, 162(m) and 280G.
- Assists clients with the correction of employee benefit plan issues under government programs, including the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), DOL Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP), and DOL Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP).
- Provides training and advice to benefits committees on ERISA fiduciary matters, including plan investments, hiring and monitoring service providers, and benefits claims and appeals.
- Conducts due diligence and advises clients on employee benefits issues in merger and acquisition transactions.
- Advises clients on avoidance and resolution of prohibited transaction issues.
- Advises clients on defined benefit plan terminations and de-risking transactions, including annuity purchases and lump sum windows.
- Represents clients before the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Department of Labor with respect to employee benefit plans.
Professional Organizations and Memberships
- The Missouri Bar
- Kansas Bar Association
- Oklahoma Bar Association
- SouthWest Benefits Association