Can Creditor’s Attach Debtor’s U.K. Pension?

The Florida statutes exempt retirement pensions from creditor claims. Courts have protected pension distributions after they were deposited in financial accounts. This week a Florida resident with an English accent called me with asset protection questions. One of his assets is a pension from an English company which he earned while working for many years in England. He assumed that his English pension is safe from creditors. I told him I disagreed, and that I think his creditors could garnish the pension ( they may have to go to England to do so), or his creditors could levy upon pension payments after they were deposited in a U.S. checking account. Why is an English pension not a protected pension?

The Florida statutes do not include a blanket exemption of all pension and retirement accounts as they do for all annuities. The applicable statute exempts only those statutes authorized by a list of specific Internal Revenue Code sections. The list of Code sections applies to certain retirement plans which are tax deferred under the Code. The U.S. revenue law has no tax deferral provisions for retirement plans established in other countries under their own tax laws. Pension plans set up pursuant to England’s tax law are not referred to in Florida’s laws, and therefore, this caller’s English pension and the payments therefrom are not exempt in Florida.

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