Retirement Plan/401k/Pension

Dallas Police and Firefighters Pension Funding Crisis

Dallas residents may have discovered over the past several months a financial crisis in their city related to the Dallas Police and Firefighters Pension. Few people really understand pension funding and how pension funding created this billion dollar shortfall for the city. The local news media in Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas has done a fairly good …

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How much does a QDRO cost in Texas?

QDROs are qualified domestic relations orders–a special court order used to divide retirement plans in a divorce or child support action. Often in a Texas divorce they divide 401k plans and pensions. Benefit laws and the Texas Family Code require QDROs to divide these plans. A major concern for people who divided retirement plans in …

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College Retirement Plans under Fire for Excessive Investment Fees

The past ten to fifteen years has given rise to a set of lawsuits against 401k plan administrators over excessive plan fees and revenue sharing agreements between plan administrators and recordkeepers. We are probably approaching the end of this wave of excessive fee litigation against for-profit employers for 401k plans. A new wave of excessive retirement …

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Why is there a 10% early withdrawal penalty to cash out a 401k?

Before becoming an employment attorney I worked for one of the largest (maybe the largest) provider of 401k services. We provided various investment, customer service and recordkeeping services for 401k plans. Most people who call for information about their 401k plans will end up talking to my former employer or one of their competitors. Most …

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What retirement plans can be divided by a QDRO in a Texas divorce?

QDROs–qualified domestic relations orders–are special court orders that divide certain types of employer-sponsored retirement plans as either part of the property division in a divorce, to pay child support, or to pay spousal support. Retirement plans that require a QDRO do so because a state or federal law requires this type of order to lawfully …

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Enforcing child support with child support liens and QDROs in Texas

Unpaid child support is a serious problems for many families where the child support may be the difference between keeping food on the table or lights on in the home. Enforcing child support in court can be a challenge when the child support obligor hides money, dodges process servers, or does not have the income …

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Vanguard funds targeted in new 401k excessive fee litigation

401k excessive fee litigation has been an active area of ERISA litigation for over a decade with 401k participants arguing the plan administrator–along with various other plan fiduciaries–breached the duty to prudently manage the investment options of the plan. Most of these cases argue the plan administrator failed to select investments with reasonable fees, particularly …

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10 Keys to Tackling Defined Benefit QDROs in a Texas Divorce

Dividing defined benefit pension benefits in a divorce strikes fear into the hearts and minds of divorce attorneys. Defined benefit pension plans, often simply called pensions, are far more complex than the relatively newer defined contribution plans like 401ks and ESOPs. Defined contribution plans are often easy to divide in a divorce. They maintain records of individual accounts …

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Unanimous SCOTUS decision in Tibble holds ERISA fiduciaries must continuously monitor 401k investment choices

A flurry of 401k litigation arose in the 2000s over the manner in which 401k plan sponsors select the investment choices and how those choices relate to the fees charged to the plan for various plan services and investments. 401k plan sponsors have fiduciary obligations to operate the plan prudently. 401k litigation asserts breaches of these …

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5 key retirement plan issues in a Texas divorce

In many divorces a major source of assets considered in the property division includes employer sponsored retirement plans and accounts like IRAs funded by prior retirement plans. These retirement plans can house significant financial resources. The parties to a Dallas or Fort Worth divorce may want to conserve them for retirement, may need to spend …

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10 Issues That Will Make Your Texas Divorce More Expensive

Divorce attorneys like myself help clients with divorces and post-divorce actions like enforcement, contempt and modification primarily in Texas. In such a large metropolitan area my clients range in family size, financial assets, post-divorce needs, property ownership and other issues related to their divorce. These divorces can range for very reasonable for clients, particularly with …

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When to start thinking about a QDRO in your Texas divorce

When I draft QDROs in a Texas divorce, one of the parties hires me to draft the QDRO after the judge signs the divorce decree. This is usually not the most efficient or productive method to deal with the QDRO. It is far better to start thinking about the QDRO early in the divorce. Many of …

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AT&T Pension Benefits and QDROs in a Texas divorce

Many large and longstanding employers, like AT&T, General Motors, Hewlitt Packard and Bank of America, have defined benefit pension plans that offer retirement benefits more complicated in their benefit formula than a 401k plan where the participant receives the vested benefit on the distribution date. These defined benefit plans determine benefits out of a combination of service …

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Shared Interest vs. Separate Interest in a QDRO

One issue dividing retirement accounts in a Texas divorce is whether the division is on shared interest or separate interest. This issue is technical and can be a confusing aspect of dividing retirement plans in a divorce. Often this issue arises when the parties are determining the final language of the divorce decree and the …

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Military retirement and Texas divorces

Military pensions, or military retirement, is a complex and tedious part of a Texas divorce. Generally, dividing retirement plans in divorces can be complex legal and financial undertakings; but military pensions carry unique functions that affect how they fit into a divorce in Texas. What works in one divorce may not be remotely close to the …

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New case illustrates risk of ESOP mismanagement: Dallas employee benefits lawyer

I am a skeptic of Employee Stock Ownership Plans because they create unique financial risks to employees. The ESOP industry, unsurprisingly, takes issue with my position; but it’s hard to take their position seriously in light of cases like today’s appellate decision from the Seventh Circuit. Certainly I would agree that some ESOP plans are well-managed and …

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Retirement account divided in a Texas divorce without a QDRO

Retirement accounts like pensions, 401ks, ESOPs and other employer-sponsored retirement plans are often divided in a divorce. The property award goes into the divorce decree or incorporates into the decree through a settlement agreement. That is not the end of the process to divide those retirement accounts in a Texas divorce. A separate order orders the …

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Dissecting fact and fiction from a recent report on retirement savings

As somebody who spent a decade working in employee benefits and now practices employee benefits law, I have an understanding of the employee benefits industry. When I saw WFAA in Dallas covering a report about retirement savings I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to fact-check. Predictably, the piece mixes a little truth with a lot of …

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