My employer's gone -- where's my 401(k)?

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Question:

I had a 401(k) plan with a company that is now defunct. The company that used to administer the plan doesn't anymore, and it won't give me any information. I called the Department of Labor, but it was of little help. How do I find my money?

Answer:

The best-placed call you can make is to the company that last produced your statement. If it was administering the fund, it has an obligation -- along with your employer and the people handling the 401(k) money -- to keep your plan assets safe. Remind the company of this obligation and ask for the name of the person you should contact to resolve the issue.

You should also try to contact your former employer. The owners also have an obligation and can be personally liable for the funds.

If you have no luck in either of these places, call an ERISA attorney -- an attorney who specializes in pension plan law -- for help.

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