In California, refusing or otherwise failing to pay on a debt can result in many different legal actions being taken against you. Options include bank levies, property levies, and assignment orders. Different actions may be taken for different situations. It’s a good idea to know your rights as they pertain to each of these actions and what your options may be before, during, and following application of them. Some ways to prevent or overturn these actions will be discussed in detail as well. Being proactive is the best form of prevention, but if you have been unable to make arrangements with the parties seeking payment, you still have rights and may be entitled to legal representation whether they have been violated, or simply if you are looking to negotiate terms with the party or parties in question. Regardless of whether or not a judgment has already been placed against you, you may have options.
Basic Collection Methods
The most basic attempts of collection in any judgment are listed here:
- Demand Letter is sent.
- Notice of Entry of Judgment
- Abstract of Judgment
- Background Report
- Skip Trace Letters filed for locating individual in judgment.
- Writ of Execution
- Debtor’s Exam aka Application for Order of Appearance and Examination with Subpoena Duces Tecum (production of documents)
- Notice of Judgment Lien (record with secretary of state)
There are a litany of other lesser-used methods available and employed depending on the situation, such as:
- Memorandum of Costs (MC-12)
- Calculation of Damages (LFW Form)
- Turnover Orders
- Charging Orders
- Order for Entry to Seize
- Keeper & Tilltaps
- Writ of Attachment
- Designation of Spouse
- Amend Judgment Debtor Name
- Fraudulent Transfer Lawsuit
- Vehicle Levy
- Real Property Levy
- Appointment of Receiver
- Attorney Fees Provision
- Temporary Restraining Order
A bank levy occurs when a legal order is placed on an account that you manage for a given amount. If you do not have the full balance in the account, the levy may zero out the account and even result in overdrafts if items we’re previously submitted and later entered for payment. A bank levy can be one of the most difficult experiences to go through, but it is possible to have a levy lifted. Often times a levy is merely placed to persuade the debtor to make payment arrangements. While you shouldn’t count on the funds taken from being returned to the account, making payment arrangements may allow at least a lift of the levy on the account, allowing you to deposit into the account without the funds being immediately taken and the full use of your account being returned to you. In some cases, you can challenge a bank levy. An attorney may be able to assist you with this.
Property levies are also common, but it is important to note that many times a judgment creditor will submit for a levy on property that they are not entitled to. A property levy or attachment on wages may be found to be on exempt items. An item being exempt means that creditors simply cannot have that property no matter how much is owed. Property that otherwise would not be exempt may still be held if the individual can prove they need it in order to support themselves or their family.
You will always be notified when a sheriff or marshal levies against your property. You will have the option of a hearing, called a claim of exemption hearing. In most states, your clothing, furniture, public benefits, some of the equity in your car or home, the majority of your wages, retirement pensions, and personal effects cannot be taken to pay a debt. While you are able to speak on your own behalf at these hearings, hiring an attorney may be beneficial in securing a better outcome for your case.
An assignment order is an alternative method of collection to a levy where a judgment collector goes after property you own that can’t be subjected to a levy. Here are some examples:
- An Anticipated Tax Refund
- Loan Value of Unmatured Life Insurance
- An Annuity Policy
- Dividend Payments
The creditor will serve the assignment order to whomever is holding your money so that they will be required to issue it to them instead of you. As stated previously, you can claim some property exempt. While you have options to fight the collection afterwards, generally being proactive and fighting it before it’s collected is a much better option. If you are receiving letters threatening collection through any of the described methods, it’s a good idea to take them seriously and consult with an attorney, especially if the amount is great enough to warrant serious concern. Depending on your situation, consulting with and hiring an attorney in the defense of your case may be the best option. An attorney may be able to help you claim property exempt, work out payment arrangements, or get the case dropped entirely if there is a lack of evidence regarding you owing the debt in the first place.
WB Law Group has years of experience regarding matters of bank levies, property levies, and assignment orders and may be able to assist you with your case.
Need an Attorney for a Bank Levy, Property Levy, or Assignment Order Matter?
WB Law Group is a reputable business litigation firm with experience in matters involving business litigation and assisting clients in recovering property from bank levies, property levies, and assignment orders. If you feel you need legal representation, we are happy to review your case and provide consultation.
For questions, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today at 559.431.4888 (Fresno) or 619.399.7700 (San Diego). You may also reach us by email: office@WebbLawGroup.com. See our website wblawgroup.com for more information.