You suspect your debtor has interests in a pension plan or trust, but you’re so out of the loop with the family finances, you aren’t sure where to start looking for the money.
As we always say, check out your debtor’s tax returns. For pension income, see if you can find your debtor’s 1099-R statements. If he’s receiving distributions from his pension plan, this should be reflected in these statements or on a W-2. Take a look at our blogpost on finding information on your debtor’s 401(k) or IRA plan for more detail about finding evidence of your debtor’s 401(k) or IRA.
If you think your debtor may have hidden some of his money in trusts, have a look at the miscellaneous deductions on his tax return’s Schedule A. Did he include expenses for estate planning advice in any given year? If he did, try giving the estate planner a call. You should also see our blogpost on finding offshore assets if you think your debtor may have hidden some money abroad.
Even simpler than taxes, try turning to the internet for information. It’s most likely that you’ll find some detail about your debtor’s pension fund if he is a public employee. For example, New York has pension projection calculator that will give you an idea how much money is in your debtor’s fund. If your debtor works in the private sector, try googling the company with the words “pension fund” or something similar. Although most private-sector companies have switched over to 401(k) plans rather than traditional pension funds, some have not. You may also find an older news article that indicates that your debtor is grandfathered in to a company’s former pension plan based on the time period he began working for the company.
Finally, think about people you can speak to to gather information. We already mentioned giving your debtor’s estate planner a call to look into assets that might be hidden in trusts. For pension information, try calling someone in HR at your debtor’s employer. Because you’re the debtor’s spouse, HR might not hesitate to give you at least some general information about your debtor’s pension plan.