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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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A plaintiff has applied for a writ of garnishment against me

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A plaintiff has applied for a writ of garnishment against me here in Washington State. The debt they want paid off is from an unsecured line of credit that I stopped paying on.

If they get the writ they are applying for what are the chances they can take money out of my bank account or brokerage accounts?
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your situation.

If they get the writ they are applying for what are the chances they can take money out of my bank account or brokerage accounts?

Frankly, the odds are that they will, minus any assets that you claim are exempt. Please, allow me to explain:

1) With a writ of execution, the Plaintiff can take money out of any bank or brokerage account.

2) There is an exemption for IRA/Roth IRA (Wash. Rev. Code §6.15.020) and pension plans (6.15.020), as well as SSD/SSDI payments.

3) The following assets are also exempt - here.

4) However, they can attach the rest, unless you file a bankruptcy, which often voids judgement or reduces it to pennies on the dollar.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I havent been paying my debts for about 4 years now. Sounds like from your response that this Writ of Garnishment is a very strong tool for debt collectors..yet in 4 years of not paying no one has seized money from my bank accounts. Not sure if anyone else had this type of Writ of Garnishment against me though Maybe thats becausue. Why wouldnt they all have used this tool and sooner?


 


No one has seized money from my accounts so far although I have changed banks and brokerages so maybe they cant find the $, not sure.


 


How good are they at finding peoples bank and brokerage accounts? My bank account is about 2 years old and my brokerage accounts are new this year

Robert,

Sounds like from your response that this Writ of Garnishment is a very strong tool for debt collectors.

It is.

.yet in 4 years of not paying no one has seized money from my bank accounts. Not sure if anyone else had this type of Writ of Garnishment against me though Maybe thats becausue. Why wouldnt they all have used this tool and sooner?

That is because this Writ - and generally post-judgment enforcement of the judgement - is pretty nuanced, and expensive. Parties tend to have to pay thousands to get this done. Attorneys for this are not cheap. So a lot of creditors simply do not pursue if the judgment is not paid voluntarily, and/or others feel that the debtor does not have the money anyhow so why waste paying more legal fees up front with nothing to show for it?

So they do not have to do this, and many do not.

No one has seized money from my accounts so far although I have changed banks and brokerages so maybe they cant find the $, not sure.

Likely, they (creditors) also cannot find it, and/or cannot afford/are not willing to put up the money to do a post-judgment discovery/litigation to find it.

How good are they at finding peoples bank and brokerage accounts? My bank account is about 2 years old and my brokerage accounts are new this year

Without you disclosing it, it is not easy. A forensic accountant might be able to but again, that costs thousands. Most creditors are content to simply hold the judgment, maybe a lien, perhaps a credit history filing, and wait it out, hoping you'd pay something. But some do act.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Any chance they could come and take my Car with this Writ ? The Car has no debt on it

Robert,

A vehicle of three thousand two hundred fifty dollars is exempt from judgment.

If it is worth more, then they can... but they'd have to file a Writ to attach non-exempt property. This is rarely done with individuals (more for companies that actually have valuable assets that can be seized). I have never once seen someone file a property asset seizure on an individual defendant (although this does not mean it does not happen).

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Well my Car is worth probably approximately $4,000. So youre saying unless I see a "Writ to attach non exempt property" from them my Car is safe.


 


I was planning to ignore the request they have sent me to list all my exempt property. Is that a good idea? Perhaps I should respond listing my car as exempt and list the value of my car as $3,000. My Car does have 108,000 miles on it.

Well my Car is worth probably approximately $4,000.

Well, I am sure if necessary, an expert may be found who can claim that it is worth less... say less than $3,250.00, making it exempt.

So youre saying unless I see a "Writ to attach non exempt property" from them my Car is safe.

Right. It may be entitled something different, such as the generic "Writ of Execution," but it is the contents of the Writ that is the point.

I was planning to ignore the request they have sent me to list all my exempt property. Is that a good idea?

No. If this is not done, one may lose the chance to claim exemptions LATER ON if they press with seizing assets/property, etc. So it is best to be honest. And the vehicle... well it may be worth $3,000, and if it is listed as such, it is up to them to challenge that.

Perhaps I should respond listing my car as exempt and list the value of my car as $3,000. My Car does have 108,000 miles on it.

Oh you beat me to it! See above. They'd have to challenge that in Court. Then they'd have to bring out an expert, and perhaps you, and the Judge makes the final decision on case by case basis.

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