What assets are safe from a lawsuit?

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 Q. Are any of the following income or assets are protected and exempt from a legal suit: Wages, Social Security, IRA, 401(k), annuities, pension?

A. Some good news, and some bad news, if you’re concerned about getting sued.

Your Social Security is fully protected, said Ronald LeVine, a Hackensack-based attorney.

He said your benefit is protected — both the payment itself, and the money after it goes into your bank account.

“The other income — wages, pension, annuities, 401(k) and IRA — once in your bank account, can be taken by a bank levy on those funds,” LeVine said.

LeVine said a levy against income means that the payor deducts from the source, like a wage garnishment, and can be done against wages and pensions.

“Nothing can be taken below 30 times the federal minimum wage — to $217.50 per week — but once gross income is above that, 10 percent of the whole amount can be taken,” he said. “Of course, many folks file for bankruptcy protection to stop garnishment of their income.”

Email your questions to moc.p1579474771leHye1579474771noMJN1579474771@ksA1579474771.

This story was first posted in June 2015.

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