As the end of the year rolls around, individuals are seeking to make contributions to their retirement accounts, in order to save for retirement as well as secure a tax deduction on their 2011 returns. Florida residents will be happy to know that they enjoy broad and comprehensive protection of their retirement accounts from the claims of their creditors. Florida Statute 222.21(2)(a) states that “any money or other assets payable to an owner, a participant, or a beneficiary from, or any interest of any owner, participant, or beneficiary in, a [retirement] fund or [retirement] account is exempt from all claims of creditors of the owner, beneficiary, or participant.” These statutory protections are for the benefit of both the plan owner, as well as a beneficiary who inherits the plan after the owner’s death.
While these protections are certainly expansive, they are by no means absolute. Florida statutory protection of retirement accounts from creditors does not apply to accounts opened and maintained in other states. Generally speaking, an accounts location may be determined by circumstances such as: where services for the account are performed, where the account assets are located, or the branch location where the account is maintained. Florida residents who are deemed to have accounts in foreign states are generally subject to the exemption laws of that state, if any.
It is always a good idea to have a knowledgeable asset protection attorney review your financial situation in order to determine your level of exposure to creditor’s claims. If you are unsure as to the legal status of your retirement accounts, contact an Attorney in Jacksonville to schedule your consultation today.