Citation to Discover Assets May Come Up Empty Because Illinois Law Protects Some Income And Property

Citation to Discover Assets May Come Up Empty Because Illinois Law Protects Some Income And Property

Richard Fonfrias, J.D.
Chicago’s Financial Rescue & Bankruptcy Lawyer
Fonfrias Law Group, LLC


A Citation to Discover Assets

If you owe a creditor money and if the creditor sues you to collect and wins, the creditor then has a court judgment against you. The judgment states the amount of money you owe and orders you to pay the creditor.

As part of its effort to collect, the creditor may require you to attend a court hearing for a Citation to Discover Assets. This is where the creditor asks questions about your income and value of your assets that he can seize to collect what you owe.

Some of Your Income and Assets Are Exempt

Illinois law states that certain types of income and assets are protected from creditors and cannot be seized. Here is what Illinois law protects from your creditors:

  • Motor vehicle equity up to $2400.
  • Equipment, machinery, books and other things you need for your work or profession up to $1500.
  • Necessary clothing, school books, family photos, and a Bible.
  • A general exemption for any property you own of up to $4000.
  • Your life insurance policy’s cash value, provided that the policy’s beneficiary is your spouse or another person who is dependent on you.
  • Veteran’s benefits, Social Security benefits, disability benefits, unemployment compensation.
  • Support, alimony or maintenance of an amount necessary to support you and anyone dependent on you.
  • A personal injury award of up to $15,000.
  • Your interest in a retirement plan permitted by IRS, such as a 401(k), pension, or IRA.
  • A homestead exemption of $15,000 of equity in property you occupy ($30,000 for a married couple). You cannot exempt investment property.
  • Your take-home pay after taxes of up to $360 per week.

What Your Creditor Gets

During the Citation to Discover Assets, if the creditor learns that all of your income and assets are protected by Illinois law, then the Citation to Discover Assets will be dismissed and the creditor will get nothing.

If the creditor learns that you have income or property that is not protected, then the creditor may choose

  • a court-ordered payment plan in which you may regular payments to the creditor;
  • a court-ordered wage garnishment, which requires your employer to take money from your paycheck to pay your debt; or
  • a court-ordered non-wage garnishment, which freezes your bank account and requires the bank to turn over your money to pay your debt.