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Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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I have personal belongings stored in my mothers attic. I have

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I have personal belongings stored in my mothers attic. I have not lived there for over a year. She is not letting me in the house without her there and now she is not answering my calls or texts. I live in NJ. I do own her 10k dollars which I have been paying monthly at least a hundred dollars. There is no formal agreement for this loan. How can I legally get my stuff.
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good morning. She has no legal right to hold your possessions hostage. Even though you may owe her money, unless you signed a security agreement giving her a lien on the possessions or she has sued you and been awarded a judgment, she has absolutely no claim on your possessions. In your situation, you want to send her a letter by certified mail demanding she allow you to retrieve your possessions at a reasonable time acceptable to both of you. Give her several alternatives. Let her know if she does not respond and/or allow you in, you will have no choice but to file suit against her for the value of everything. Let her know you will also be seeking punitive damages due to her intentional bad faith. The letter should be all you need, but if not, the suit will get the leverage and collection options you need because once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, you become a judgment creditor, and if the losing party doesn’t then pay the judgment, you can have the sheriff serve a summons on the losing party for a debtor examination. That forces the losing party to meet the judgment creditor in court and answer questions under oath about the losing party's assets. After that information is obtained, the judgment creditor has the power to garnish wages, attach bank accounts, have the sheriff seize other personal property, and/or place liens on any non-homestead property to satisfy the judgment.

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