GODBOLD, Chief Judge:
Appellant is a licensed orthopedic surgeon. Since 1979 he has practiced medicine in Florida as an employee of a professional association (hereafter P.A.), of which he is the sole director, officer, and stockholder. The P.A. has employed no one in addition to appellant for most of the time that it has been incorporated.
In 1979 the P.A. created two pension plans pursuant to 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001, et seq. (1982) (ERISA) and 26 U.S.C. §§ 401, et seq. (1982), both established as trusts naming the P.A. as settlor, appellant as trustee, and P.A. employees as beneficiaries. Provisions in the trusts prohibited any assignment or alienation of the beneficiaries' interests but reserved in the settlor the power to amend or terminate the trusts. The terms of the trusts permitted employees to borrow trust funds. The P.A. and appellant contributed to the trusts. Appellant's earnings as a surgeon constituted the funds contributed by the P.A.
Appellant filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition on September 3, 1982. He claimed that the two trusts were excluded property according to 11 U.S.C. § 541(c)(2) (1982).
This appeal followed. We hold that the trusts were not excluded property under § 541(c)(2) and, in addition, could not be exempted under 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(2)(A) (1982).
Under § 541 of the Bankruptcy Code, all property in which a debtor has a legal or equitable interest at the time of bankruptcy comes into the estate. 11 U.S.C. § 541(a)(1) (1982). What constitutes a legal or equitable interest is broadly construed. One exception to the sweeping scope of § 541(a) is § 541(c)(2). It preserves restrictions on the transfer of a beneficial interest of the debtor in a trust which is enforceable
Relying primarily on legislative history,
Florida law recognizes and enforces as spendthrift trusts those trusts:
Croom v. Ocala Plumbing & Electric Co., 62 Fla. 460, 465, 57 So. 243, 244 (1911); see also Waterbury v. Munn, 159 Fla. 754, 32 So.2d 603 (1947). Because the purpose of a spendthrift trust is to protect the beneficiary from himself and his creditors, such a trust fails where the beneficiary exercises "absolute dominion" over the property of the trust. See Croom, 62 Fla. at 466, 57 So. at 244-45.
Although the two pension plans in the instant case contain anti-alienation provisions,
We therefore hold that because the pension plans in the instant case are not spendthrift trusts, they are not excluded from the property of the estate under § 541(c)(2).
Although the two trusts come into the bankruptcy estate, we must examine whether they could be exempted out pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 522 (1982). That section
The House and Senate reports on § 522(b)(2)(A) provide a list of property that can be exempted under federal laws.
Furthermore, excluding ERISA-qualified pension plans from the list of property exempted under federal law is consistent with an important distinction between exempted property and property covered by ERISA. Despite the similarity between the anti-alienation provisions of ERISA and some of the listed statutes, the "pensions, wages, benefits and payments included in the ... list are all peculiarly federal in nature, created by federal law or related to industries traditionally protected by the federal government. In sharp contrast, ERISA regulates private employer pension systems." In re Graham, 726 F.2d at 1274. It is this "peculiarly federal nature" shared by the cited statutes that identifies and determines which federal statutes are to be included within the "other federal law" exemption of § 522 and which, like ERISA, are to be excluded. See Matter of Goff, 706 F.2d at 586. The failure to mention ERISA in the legislative history accompanying § 522(b)(2)(A) is, therefore, both purposeful and reasoned. See In re La Fata, 41 B.R. 842 (Bankr.E.D.Mich.1984); Matter of Kelley, 31 B.R. 786
The trust funds are neither excluded nor exempted property. The district court's decision is AFFIRMED.
11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(1), (2)(A) (1982).
See S.Rep. No. 989, 95th Cong., 2d Sess. 75, reprinted in 1978 U.S.Code Cong. & Ad.News 5787, 5861; H.R.Rep. No. 595, 95th Cong., 2d Sess. 360, reprinted in 1978 U.S.Code Cong. & Ad.News 5963, 6316.