Sharon Hearn is a partner with the Indianapolis law firm of Krieg DeVault LLP. She dedicates her practice to advising clients on qualified defined contribution plans, executive compensation and employee stock ownership plan matters. She has worked on dozens of ESOP transactions which involved both public and private companies. She also has substantial experience working on ESOPs sponsored by S corporations. Ms. Hearn works with all issues surrounding ESOPs and their sponsors and fiduciaries, including designing and implementing equity and non-equity-based incentive plans, fiduciary issues and plan administration issues, including allocations, distributions and diversification. She has considerable experience in drafting ESOP plan and trust documents and in advising companies and ESOP fiduciaries on the many issues associated with establishing, administering and terminating ESOPs. Ms. Hearn has structured and carried out the disposition of leveraged ESOPs in connection with numerous acquisitive transactions. Her ESOP practice involves frequent contacts with the National Office of the Internal Revenue Service and with the Department of Labor in connection with technical issues. Ms. Hearn is a member of the NCEO and The ESOP Association and was Chair of The ESOP Association’s Legislative and Regulatory Advisory Committee in 2015-2017.
In addition to her extensive work with ESOPs, Ms. Hearn’s practice includes advising clients on all aspects of executive compensation, qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, including profit sharing plans, 401(k) plans, 403(b) and deferred compensation plans, including all issues arising under Code Section 409A. She speaks at the local, regional and national level on a variety of benefits issues, but with an emphasis on employee stock ownership plans and executive compensation. She has served as a panelist in numerous seminars and has published articles on various aspects of employee benefit plans, including ESOPs, the IRS programs for voluntarily correcting errors in plan administration, and the rules under Code Section 409A applicable to various forms of deferred compensation and equity-based executive compensation programs.