Are IRAs protected from civil lawsuits in New York State? I know the protection varies by state and I know they are protected from bankruptcies and creditors in New York, but cannot find out if they are protected from lawsuits.
State/Country relating to Question: New York
That's the same thing - that judgment creditors can't touch them regardless if they have a judgment against the person to satisfy the judgment debt.
A money judgment obtained in the State of New York is generally enforceable for a period of twenty (20) years. (Chptr. 8, Art. 2, Sec. 211, New York State Consolidated Laws.) It may be enforced against any property which could be assigned or transferred, whether it consists of a present or future right or interest and whether or not it is vested, unless it is exempt from application to the satisfaction of the judgment. A money judgment entered upon a joint liability of two or more persons may be enforced against individual property of those persons summoned and joint property of such persons with any other persons against whom the judgment is entered. (Chptr. 8, Art 52, Sec. 5201, New York State Consolidated Laws.) In general, ninety per cent (90%) of the earnings of the Judgment Debtor for his personal services rendered within sixty days before, and at any time after, an income execution is delivered to the sheriff, is exempt from execution of a money judgment. (Chptr. 8 Art. 52, Sec. 5205(d), New York State Consolidated Laws.)
A money judgment generally may become a lien against the real property of a judgment debtor either from the time of the docketing of the judgment with the clerk of the county in which the property is located until ten years after filing of the judgment-roll, or from the time of the filing with such clerk of a notice of levy pursuant to an execution until the execution is returned. (Chptr. 8 Art. 52, Sec. 5203, New York State Consolidated Laws.)
In general, a debtor may claim Exemption of his Homestead and certain personal property from attachment and execution of a judgment, or in a bankruptcy proceeding.
Under Chptr. 8, Art. 52, Sec. 5206 of the New York State Consolidated Laws, property of one of the following types, not exceeding ten thousand dollars in value above liens and encumbrances, owned and occupied as a principal residence, is exempt from application to the satisfaction of a money judgment, unless the judgment was recovered wholly for the purchase price thereof:
1. a lot of land with a dwelling thereon, 2. shares of stock in a cooperative apartment corporation, 3. units of a condominium apartment, or 4. a mobile home.
Some of the personal property exemption which may be claimed by a debtor may include all stoves kept for use in the judgment debtor's dwelling house and necessary fuel therefor for sixty days; one sewing machine with its appurtenances; the family bible, family pictures, and school books used by the judgment debtor or in the family; and other books, not exceeding fifty dollars in value, kept and used as part of the family or judgment debtor's library; a seat or pew occupied by the judgment debtor or the family in a place of public worship; domestic animals with the necessary food for those animals for sixty days, provided that the total value of such animals and food does not exceed four hundred fifty dollars; all necessary food actually provided for the use of the judgment debtor or his family for sixty days; all wearing apparel, household furniture, one mechanical, gas or electric refrigerator, one radio receiver, one television set, crockery, tableware and cooking utensils necessary for the judgment debtor and the family; a wedding ring; a watch not exceeding thirty-five dollars in value; and necessary working tools and implements, including those of a mechanic, farm machinery, team, professional instruments, furniture and library, not exceeding six hundred dollars in value, together with the necessary food for the team for sixty days, provided, however, that the articles specified in this paragraph are necessary to the carrying on of the judgment debtor's profession or calling. In addition, a judgment debtor may also be entitled to exemption, to the extent allowed under the statute, certain portions of income, trust, security deposits, insurance policy, New York state college choice tuition savings program trust funds, award in a matrimonial action, and retirement plan funds. (Chptr. 8, Art. 52, Sec. 5205, New York Consolidated Laws.)
20 years legal practitioner: real estate, collections, estate, civil, business, and criminal law
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).