The Citation to Discover Assets: What Happens During the Examination?
Richard Fonfrias, J.D.
Chicago's Financial Rescue & Bankruptcy Lawyer
Fonfrias Law Group, LLC
Garnishing Your Wages
When a creditor, often a lender, serves you with a Citation to Discover Assets, this means it wants to know what assets you have so it can collect on its judgment.
The Citation to Discover Assets is a form with blanks that you fill in. The creditor's lawyer fills in the creditor's name, your name, the date, the amount of the judgment and your address. He attaches a copy of the judgment and asks for documents relating to your assets. They usually include tax returns, bank statements, paystubs, car titles, certificates of stock and bond ownership, and so on.
In addition to the Citation, you'll receive an Income and Asset Form, along with directions to fill in the form and bring it to the Citation hearing.
You'll receive the Citation to Discover Assets from a Sheriff or process server. Then you fill in the form and bring the requested documents with you to the Citation hearing.
The Citation Exam is Usually at the Courthouse
The Court Clerk will swear you in and the creditor's lawyer will conduct the exam, usually focusing in these three areas:
(1) Employment: If you work, then the lawyer will issue a wage deduction against your employer. The lawyer can get 15% of your gross, pre-tax wages under Illinois law.
(2) Bank Account: If you have a bank account, then the lawyer will send a citation to the bank by certified mail. Then the bank must freeze your account until further order from the court. (If you think the lawyer might try to freeze your account, withdraw your money before the citation hearing.)
(3) Real Estate: If you own real estate, then the lawyer will record a Memorandum of Judgment against your property. This Memorandum puts a lien on your real estate and interferes with your attempts to refinance or sell your property.
If you have equity in this real estate, the creditor's lawyer can foreclose and force a sale of your property. So if you or your lawyer can negotiate a settlement, you're far better off to do this.
As you can see, the purpose of a Citation to Discover Assets is so the creditor can find and seize your property. I recommend that you have an experienced bankruptcy lawyer with you before and during a Citation hearing so you improve your outcome as much as possible. As always, you're invited to call me.