Judgment Creditors Can Find Your Assets. Here's How.
Richard Fonfrias, J.D.
Chicago’s Financial Rescue & Bankruptcy Lawyer
Fonfrias Law Group, LLC
If a creditor gets a judgment against you, that creditor is called a judgment creditor. In this article, the term creditor means one who has sued you and won a judgment in court.
After securing a judgment, the creditor will need to find your assets. Once they’re found, the creditor can legally take steps to turn your assets into the money you owe on the judgement.
To do this, the creditor could record a lien against your home, seize money in your bank account, or force the sale of a valuable asset, such as an airplane or yacht.
Often, debtors assume that creditors won’t be able to find out what property or other assets they own. But those debtors are wrong.
Creditors have very effective, legal ways to discover the property you own and convert that property into cash to pay your judgment. For example:
1. Creditors look at the application you filled out. When you want to get a personal loan, credit card, mortgage loan, or any other type of credit, you complete a credit application. On that form, you give the lender information about your bank account, your assets, and where you work. So, unless that information has changed, your creditor knows whether you own a home, where it can garnish your wages, and where it can attach funds in your bank account.
2. Creditors learn the bank you use and your account number simply by looking at the last payment you made, if you paid by check.
3. Creditors check real estate records, which are open to the public, and can easily locate your property if it’s in a county not far from where you live. Many of these records can be found online.
4. Creditors check with the state department of motor vehicles, which often provides information about registered vehicles you own. In addition, if you own a boat or other vehicle that has a lien against it, those documents are usually public records.
5. Creditors serve you with a legal notice for a “debtor’s examination.” You must show up at the time and place specified and testify under oath about your income and the property you own. If you fail to show up, you could be held in contempt of court and have a warrant issued for your arrest.
Questions: You will likely be asked about your bank accounts, vehicles, real estate, personal property, investments and any other assets.
Documents: You will likely be required to bring documents such as tax returns, bank statements, deeds, business records, and any other documents that describe your assets and their value.
Before you make any decisions about your finances, I encourage you to call me. I am an experienced Chicago BK lawyer who specializes in financial help for businesses and individuals including IRS debt help, foreclosure avoidance and bankruptcy. I’ll give you the facts, look over your situation, and answer your questions. Then you’ll be able to make an informed, intelligent decision. And I offer this information to you without charge. If you would like to speak in confidence to a bankruptcy attorney in the Chicago area, please give me a call.