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Are investment accounts protected during Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Many individuals in Oregon and across the country have sought out options for debt relief during extended periods of financial struggle. Those who wish to explore Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a viable solution may have concerns about certain aspects of the process, such as the liquidation of assets. While one's first thought may go straight to personal assets such as a car, it might be beneficial to consider the potential impact bankruptcy may have on investments and retirement accounts.

Perhaps one of the most common retirement accounts is a 401(k). These accounts are generally protected from creditors during bankruptcy, unless a debt is owed to the IRS. In some cases, the IRS could place a levy on future disbursements from a 401(k), which can accrue interest over time, even if a person isn't old enough to withdraw funds.

Other investment accounts, such as an IRA, are handled differently during bankruptcy. Certain IRA accounts are only protected up to a certain amount, which is slightly under $1.3 million, while others, such as a self-employed plan, may have unlimited protection. However, any amounts that are withdrawn from an IRA, regardless of type, could lose their exempt status.

Those who wish to seek relief through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but have concerns about retirement accounts, may find it advisable to seek guidance in the early stages of the process. An experienced attorney can advise a client in Oregon on the crucial aspects of filing for bankruptcy, including the impact it may have on his or her assets and debts. This type of guidance could assist a person in choosing the correct path for debt relief while avoiding any potentially devastating consequences to investment accounts.

Source: fool.com, "Can Creditors Seize My Investments During Bankruptcy?", Sarah Szczypinski, Accessed on Aug. 7, 2017

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