Creditor Collection 101

How can my creditor collect from me?

A creditor with a judgment can collect using any legal means, including:

  • Liens: A judgment acts as a lien against your real estate, including any deed on which your name appears.
  • Garnishments: Judgment creditors and seize 10%-25% of your wages.  They can also seize money in any bank account that has your name on it – even someone else’s.
  • seizing & selling personal property, including, but not limited to:

    • Cars, boats, ATVs, trailers, RVs
    • Jewelry, furs, artwork
    • Business equipment & supplies
    • Show animals, horses, hunting dogs
    • Farm equipment, guns, livestock
    • Cash, stocks, annuities

NOTE: Creditors cannot seize income tax refunds. Tax refunds can only be seized to satisfy federal debt, past due child support or defaulted student loans.

 Can I protect my property?

Yes, you can protect most property from creditors, but with certain restrictions. In Missouri there are legal protections called “exemptions.” You must assert the exemptions when a creditor tries to seize property. You can do this yourself, but a lawyer can make sure that it is done correctly, and that your creditor obeys the exemption limits.

How can I stop collection?

  • Pay the judgment;
  • Make a monthly payment arrangement;
  • Negotiate a lump-sum settlement for less than the full amount of the judgment; or,
  • File for bankruptcy protection.

by Dianna Coy Long at Mid-Missouri Bankruptcy Center


Read: Never Ignore a Lawsuit