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Legal Questions about Head of Family

Filing as “head of family” can have benefits for tax payers in the United States. Yet federal and state governments lay down certain rules that need to be followed to qualify as being head of family. These laws can often lead to questions like the ones below that have been answered by Experts.

I am the head of my family. When I become senile, who do I delegate my responsibilities to?

What you could do now is to appoint a Power Of Attorney (PoA) and clearly mention that it will not come into effect until the day you become mentally incapacitated. All the powers you now hold will be delegated, including the authority to manage, sell, and encumber real estate. In addition, you can empower the person to make medical decisions on your behalf when you have reached a state of being incapacitated. Finally, it would be best for you to also make out a will that spells out the division or management of your property after your death.

I live in Nebraska and rented from a landlord a year ago. He thinks I owe him $3K but I never got a court date so I could explain why I don’t owe him the money. Now I want to know if my wages can be garnished from my salary and my account be frozen if I am head of family.

To begin with, usually 15% of the debtor’s disposable (after tax usually) earnings is the maximum garnishment possible for the "head of family."

According to the state of Nebraska Department of Labor, the definition of "head of family" is:
“an individual who actually supports and maintains one or more individuals who are closely connected with him or her by blood relationship, relationship by marriage, by adoption, or by guardianship, and whose right to exercise family control and provide for the dependent individuals is based upon some moral or legal obligation.”

To read more about this and better understand wage garnishment laws in Nebraska, you can visit this link: http://nlc1.nlc.state.ne.us/epubs/L1500/Q023-2005.pdf

To answer your question, when you freeze a bank account, all the money in it can be seized based on the court judgment if your account is not exempt from execution. In case of “dispute” or “legal issues,” banks sometimes freeze accounts because they like to exercise caution. But they can be forced to “un-freeze” the money beyond the dollar value of the writ of execution.

I am based in Missouri and make about $72,000 a year. I wrecked a vehicle in a car accident about a decade ago and 25% is being taken out of my weekly check for this. I still need to pay off a little over $13,000 and added to that, there’s rent, insurance payments and student loans. I also have a baby coming and plan to get married soon. Can I file for head of family and totally stop or at least reduce my garnishment?

Since you are not anywhere near the poverty line and are in the high income bracket, the courts would be able to legally pursue you for the funds owed by you. Hence, your petition may not be accepted. As this is a 10 year old judgment, the courts may not also agree to lower the amount. You could try and file “pro se” for a hearing before a judge by getting the forms from your local law library. But you need to file at the same court that issued the garnishment in the first place. The surest way, however, of getting totally rid of the judgment is via a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

You could also try filing for “head of family” but you would need to prove that your family is really dependent on you. So if you can argue that the garnishment is causing a huge problem for you to care for your children and you can’t fulfill their needs, then the courts may understand and adjust payments.

There are many misconceptions with regard to how an individual can file for being “head of family.” When you have legal questions, it is best to seek legal insight from Experts.
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