Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

What happens to my 401(k) if I file for bankruptcy?

Some people think that filing for bankruptcy means they will lose everything.  That is one of the biggest bankruptcy myths out there.  To the contrary, you will likely get to keep a lot of your possessions including homes, cars and other assets.  A vast majority of Chapter 7 cases are “no-asset” cases, which means the debtor is not required to give up any of their possessions.

Another asset protected in bankruptcy is individual retirement accounts.  In fact, social security, 401(k)’s and pensions  worth up to $1.245 million are all exempt from creditors during bankruptcy. This means that retirement income and savings are out of reach and protected under federal law.

We have filed bankruptcy petitions for clients with more in their retirement accounts than on their credit card statement. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to hold onto all of your retirement savings and keep every penny of your 401(k).

However, this is only the case if the money remains in your 401(k) retirement account.  Removing funds from the 401(k) or any retirement account before filing for bankruptcy turns the funds from a protected asset to an unprotected asset.  It is important to speak with an attorney, especially if you have recently lost your job and have considered pulling from your retirement savings to help pay for day-to-day living expenses.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at

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