Key takeaways

  • Your retirement funds are protected by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) if you file for bankruptcy.
  • There are cases where your 401(k) assets can be seized. These can include if you have outstanding unpaid income tax, if you have criminal penalties/fines or if someone files a qualified domestic relations order.
  • Try to avoid using your 401(k) to pay off debt due to the penalties, fees and taxes.