The current bankruptcy law contains protection for your pension and retirement accounts. If you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you should be able to keep both with a few limitations.

Plans Not Included in Bankruptcy (No Exemption Required)
Certain plans are considered “excluded” from the bankruptcy estate, which means you get to keep them. These type of plans don’t come under control of the trustee, so technically you do not need to claim them as exempt. However, some attorneys choose to list them under your exempt property.

With a few exceptions, the amount that is protected is unlimited.

  • 401(k)s
  • 403(b)s
  • IRAs (SEP and SIMPLE)
  • Pension and retirement plans qualified under ERISA
  • Government retirement plans under IRC 414(d)
  • Keoghs
  • Profit-sharing, money-purchase and defined-benefit plans
  • Deferred compensation plans under IRC 576
  • Tax-deferred annuity plans under IRC 403(b)


There are a few limitations for traditional and Roth IRAs. For those two types of accounts, the amount the bankruptcy court can’t touch is limited to $1,245,475 per person. If you have more than this amount in your combined accounts, the court can take the excess to pay back your creditors.

Additionally, employee stock purchase plans and some inherited IRAs may not qualify for an exemption.

Bankruptcy law is complicated, and you want a top Kansas City lawyer to help you with your case. Call us today at 816-842-6200 to speak with an attorney. Or you can click here to email us and schedule your free consultation.

Jason C. Amerine
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President and Owner, Castle Law Office of Kansas City