What Assets Can You Collect

What Assets Can You Collect with a Judgment

Any assets can be collected to pay a judgment except for certain exempt assets. Each state defines exempt assets. Usually, exempt assets are those considered necessary for the debtors livelihood. You as the creditor cannot put someone out on the street, at least directly, to collect a judgment. Judgments are almost always monetary amounts determined by the court. If the debtor does not have sufficient currency assets when enforcing a judgment, such as cash or bank account balances, then you may acquire physical assets until the amount is reached.

Common exempt assets are

It is worthwhile to note that only one residence and vehicle are protected as exempt assets. If the person has multiple vehicles or residencies, then you are most likely entitled to collect on the most valuable among them first. However, you cannot collect more assets than can be sold to equal the amount of the judgment. Note that you may not put a debtor in additional debt to collect the judgment. This means that you may not request money from credit sources or demand that the person take out a loan to pay the judgment.

If your judgment is against a corporation, then that entity has no exempt assets. You may acquire currency values, company vehicles and offices. However, you cannot take employee owned assets.

There is a common order to the collection of assets.

  1. Liquid assets, such as cash, bank account balances, retirement accounts, investments, stocks and the like.
  2. Items easily auctioned, such as expensive jewelry, precious metals and other expensive items not under exemption.
  3. Vehicles not under exemption.
  4. Undeveloped land.
  5. Developed property. These could include homes, offices, condos and other buildings.
  6. If you collect physical assets, then you may sell them yourself or assign a collector to auction them for you.

What if the Debtor Has No Assets

There may be a situation where you have a judgment against a debtor who has basically no nonexempt assets. You cannot collect what a debtor does not own, but there are some options available. A judgment automatically stands for 10 years from the date of the mailing of the notice of judgment. In most states, this timeline can be extended every ten years forever. There is a good likelihood that a debtors financial situation will change in time. As the creditor, you are entitled to collect on a judgment amount at any time that a debtor has collectible assets available. Note that you must keep track of the debtors changes yourself by staying in contact with them and requesting change of asset statements.

You may also garnish a debtors wages up to a certain percentage. This will allow you to collect a small amount of the judgment continuously.

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