Deferred Compensation, Plan Valuation, and Characterization

Deferred compensation plans come in many different shapes and sizes. These employment benefits are not restricted by the rules and regulations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and thus can be structured to meet the specific needs and objectives of employees and employers. They may be granted to specific employees without regard to the benefits received by other employees. They are often complex in structure, difficult to value, and may present problematic enforcement issues. These benefits may not ever be received or may be received many years in the future. To the extent a plan or a portion of a plan is earned during the marriage, that part will be characterized by the divorce court as community property.

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