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SERP and other Executive Deferred Compensation Claims

Professional Legal Representation To Get The Compensation You Are Entitled To

Understanding the type of retirement benefits a job offers is an important part of evaluating an overall employee compensation package. For companies and businesses, offering these benefits is key to hiring and retaining top producing executives and upper level managers. Aside from the usual IRA or pension based plans, increasing numbers of employers are now relying on deferred compensation plans, which are used to provide employees with a portion of the income they made while working, either at retirement or at some other designated time in the future. you made a future date.

At Kantor & Kantor LLP, our experienced San Francisco SERP and Executive Deferred Compensation attorneys know that while these plans offer advantages to both executives and the companies they work for, problems can arise when it comes time to submit your claim. In these situations, we provide the aggressive, professional legal representation needed to assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve.  

Executive Deferred Compensation

According to a Smart CEO report on supplemental retirement plans, today’s top level executives expect a compensation package that includes more than just standard retirement benefits. Supplemental Executive Retirement Plans (SERP) and Executive Deferred Compensation programs offer a cost effective way for employers to provide these benefits, while offering tax advantages to their best employees. Advantages of these plans include the following:

  • Plans can be tailored specifically to the needs of individual executives.
  • The plan can be financed by either company assets or a life insurance policy, allowing the company to recoup their costs.
  • In the event the executive dies before reaching retirement age, the plan may allow benefits to go to their survivors or beneficiaries.
  • The employee pays no tax on the plan while they are working, and the employer receives a tax credit when the benefits are paid.

SERP and Executive Deferred Compensation Claim Denials

While deferred compensation plans offer attractive benefits, Smart CEO states there are two major disadvantages these plans have. One is that the funds are subject to creditor claims in the event the company goes bankrupt, and the other is that as they cover mostly highly compensated executive, they are subject to only minimum reporting and disclosure practices under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). In addition, as these funds are not kept in a secure trust, there is always the chance the money could be spent or squandered before the executive has the opportunity to claim it.

A Bloomberg report on litigation involving deferred compensation plans states that an increasing number of lawsuits are now being filed as the result of employers denying the benefits promised to their executives. Reasons deferred compensation claims may be denied include the following:

  • The company sells, reorganizes, or goes through a buyout, releasing incoming owners or operators from having to honor the plan;
  • The company becomes insolvent and is not able to pay the benefits agreed to;
  • Breach of contract disputes regarding language in the plan which excludes executives who leave their positions or those who do not perform at required levels from receiving benefits;
  • Clauses which require executives to surrender the right to benefits in the event they pursue other types of work after retirement.

How Our Litigation Attorneys Can Help

If you have had a SERP or other Executive Deferred Compensation claim denied or had your benefits reduced, contact Kantor & Kantor LLP today.  Our attorneys provide the aggressive legal representation you need to protect your rights and interests, and can assist you in taking the necessary steps to ensure your plan benefits are paid. We serve San Francisco and the surrounding areas; call or contact our office online today to schedule a confidential consultation reviewing the facts in your particular case.  


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