Brought to you by Stryker Investigations:
There’s nothing worse than being owed money by someone you trusted. When a business makes a transaction with a customer, they expect the customer to pay them. However, this doesn’t happen all the time, and it’s created $3.5 trillion dollars in debt collections according to the American Collectors Association. That’s a lot of money businesses and individuals are losing.
Even after someone is forced to pay you via a judgement, they still might resist. And according to the San Francisco Private Investigator firm Stryker Investigations, this is when it’s time to call in the professionals to sniff out hidden assets and get what you or your business is owed.
Search for Assets
Before you can identify the best method to collect, you need to identify your debtor’s assets. Many courts will order parties to fill out asset disclosure statements that provide this information. The creditor also has the legal right to request an order of examination in which you will be able to ask asset-related questions that will make collections an easier task to achieve, such as:
- Is there any cash on hand?
- Are there checking, savings, or investment accounts?
- Are there any valuables, storage, or safe deposits?
- Does the debtor have a trust or inheritance fund?
- Does the debtor own property, jewelry, vehicles, watercraft, or artwork?
- Does the debtor own a business or have interests in the United States or abroad?
- Does the debtor own residential or business real estate or timeshares?
You should also ask about recent property sales or transfers as there are some debtors who want to avoid paying the monetary judgments which the court will intervene and reverse.
Make a Formal Request for Payment
The first step to collecting your judgment is to make a formal request to the debtor in writing. Be professional and try to work with the debtor since not everyone is financially sound or capable of making payments in full. The debtor may choose to negotiate with a creditor to reduce their liability, which is something you should consider if a timely payment will be rendered in full.
Obtain a Writ of Execution, Attachment, or Garnishment
If you are unable to get a debtor to pay, you need to move on to the next legal right you have which is obtaining a writ of execution, writ of attachment, or wage garnishment. Because you will have this information from your asset examination, it will allow you to get a wage garnishment, bank levy, or real estate lien quickly once the payment agreement date has passed.
Once the court issues one of these judgments, you can utilize your local law enforcement who will serve the appropriate institution with the paperwork allowing you to seize your judgment from a bank account (bank levy) or financial interest. Under some state debtor laws, you may be unable to garnish wages or collect from the public receipt of unemployment (UI) or social security.
If your debtor is employed, states allow you to garnish up to 25% of wages. You also have a right to collect by using a real estate lien in most circumstances. Getting a consultation will be a benefit if you’re unsure of how to proceed. If your judgment is less than the fair market property value, you’ll receive a lien that is in effect until the property is sold or transferred.