Exemption planning is a tricky and complicated area. You should definitely have an attorney review the annuity, or pension, before filing the bankruptcy. The attorney should review the plan carefully.
Ca. has 2 exemptions systems: the 703s and the 704s.
One commonly used exemption to protect a pension or annuity is C.C.P. Section 703.140(b)10E. Another possible exemption is C.C.P. § 704.110, and there is also Gov’t. Code § 21255
These may protect your asset, but can't say for sure w/o seeing the papers and also knowing the details about your past employment w/ the state. When a client discloses that they own an annuity, pension, IRA, or some other retirement benefit, I always get the details and at the least, review the plan papers.
Get an attorney.
This is a situation where you are trying to decide how to protect an asset - that generally is fairly large.
Spend a little money and pay an attorney to prepare your paperwork.
I have seen unrepresented parties taken advantage of due solely to their lack of understanding of the rules.
That does not happen when you are represented by competent counsel.
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Please contact me directly with document for a free 30 minute consultation to get more concrete advice. This is not legal advice. I don't have enough information to give actual legal advice. I can only take the limited information presented and provide a framework to know how your situation may turn out. I may have questions that bring up issues you did not think were important but make a big difference.
Generally speaking, retirement benefits are protected when properly disclosed and exempted in bankruptcy paperwork. The 703 section you would want to read THOROUGHLY and confirm with your retirement paperwork is CCCP Section 703.140(b)(10)(E). If you are trying to protect a substantial amount of money, and you have any other assets that need protection, you definitely want to hire an attorney to prepare and file your paperwork for you.
Legal disclaimer: Ms. Singh is a California-licensed attorney only. The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Answering this question does not in any way constitute legal representation. Contacting Anudeep Singh or the Stone Haven Law Group does not constitute legal representation, nor is any information you provide protected by attorney-client privilege until otherwise advised.