Category: Collections

Collecting on a Debt is NOT as Easy as It May Seem

 

I got my Judgment, now what?

There is a misconception that getting a money judgment against someone, means they will pay you. In general this is NOT the case. We, at Perry Law Office, have found that on average it can take up to two (2) years to collect on a judgment depending on the various circumstances and how old the debt is. There are of course those rare circumstances when you get paid immediately upfront. But in most circumstances that is not the case.Getting the money judgment is only the first step.

How do I find assets to collect from?

Debtors, tend to move. Debtors, tend to switch jobs. Debtors, tend to be unwilling to voluntarily pay a debt they owe. Debt Collection takes some time and hard work. Finding employment, personal assets, or bank accounts can be very difficult. Not to mention, finding the debtor and getting proper service in order to enforce your claim against them. There are many methods and ways to find the location of a debtor, bank accounts, or where they are employed. Companies offer services to do just that. However, this cost money to hire the company or to buy the program, plus the time to do the legwork.

What can a collection attorney do for you?

The experienced staff and attorneys at Perry Law Office are equipped to find these debtors and collect from them. We can find where they are working and garnish their wages, levy on their bank account, or set up voluntary payments.  Perry Law Office and similar collection attorneys have methods and processes in place to efficiently and effectively collect on debt.

How do I pay an attorney?

If someone owes you money and you are not sure how to collect, hire an experienced debt collection attorney to help you collect the money that is owed to you. Hiring an attorney is not as painful as you may believe. In most cases, you do NOT have to pay the attorney any attorney fees. Normally collection attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning if they do NOT collect, you do not owe the attorney anything.

 

Contact Perry Law Office an experienced Fort Wayne debt collection attorney today. Call our Fort Wayne, Indiana law firm at (260) 483-3110 to discuss legal collection services at any stage of delinquency. We offer retail (consumer) and commercial (business to business) Debt Collections.

Key Terms You need to know for Debt Collection

 

If you owed money and are thinking about filing a lawsuit to attempt to collect, here are some key terms to become familiar with:

  • Debt/Delinquent Account/Deficiency amount: This is what someone owes you. The amount of money a person or company owes you.
  • Debtor/Defendant: This is the person who owes you money.
  • Creditor/Plaintiff/Client: This is the person who is owed the money.
  • Court Costs/Filing Fees: This term is used to explain the cost of filing the lawsuit and paying for service of court pleadings to the debtor.
  • Private Process Server/Sheriff Service/Certified Mail: These are methods to serve a debtor the legal pleadings. The type of service to use depends on certain facts and situations.
  • Contingency Fee: This is a fee structure where the attorney and creditor split the amount collected. Attorney does not get a fee unless monies are collected. This is the most common fee agreement between collection attorneys and clients.
  • Statute of Limitations (SOL): This is a the deadline to file a lawsuit. Each type of debt has a different deadline to file a lawsuit. If you miss that deadline, you are not eligible to file suit against the person or entity who owes you money. Some SOL are very short so do not sit on the debt and not do anything. Depending on the debt, the SOL starts at different times. Most common is date last payment made.
  • Judgment: This is the decision of the court on whether a person owes someone money or not. The Judge/Magistrate can give a judgment for Creditor stating the Debtor owes $X or could rule in favor of the Debtor.
  • Judge/Magistrate: A judge is elected. A magistrate is appointed by a Judge and usually handles less complicated cases. Most Small Claims courts have Magistrates vs Judges. Both can give final judgment.

Contact Perry Law Office an experienced Fort Wayne debt collection attorney today. Call our Fort Wayne, Indiana law firm at (260) 483-3110 to discuss legal collection services at any stage of delinquency. We offer retail (consumer) and commercial (business to business) Debt Collections.

 

Basics of Indiana Collection Law

What is Small Claims?

If you are owed money and the person or entity that owes you refuses to  pay you will have to make the decision whether or not you want to take the matter to court to enforce collection of the monies owed to you. In Indiana for claims involving $6,000 or less ($8,000 or less in Marion County Indiana), there is a simplified procedure for filing a lawsuit in what is called Small Claims Court. The filing fee generally changes slightly from year to year but it should be around $90. You may even file a request that the filing fee be waived based on financial need. Most courts in Indiana are going to e-filing. As a pro-se plaintiff, you are able to file at court or online. But that law could change in the future.

Advantages of Small Claims:

The advantage to filing in Small Claims Court is a faster route to trial if a trial is necessary. In addition to a streamlined process for obtaining a judgment, Small Claims Court is also designed for a streamlined process for the collection of the judgment. If a trial is required then it usually can be scheduled in a relatively short period of time. One month up to six months. This is a much quicker time frame in which to get in front of a judge than you would have in a court outside of Small Claims Court. Many claims are reduced to judgment without the need for a trial and in that case, you might have a judgment within 2 months after filing the lawsuit. The rules of evidence are also relaxed, allowing for a more conversational presentation of your claim, vs worrying about the proper method of submitting your evidence proving the debt is owed.

I have Judgment, now what?

Obtaining a money judgment against the person or entity that owes you money is often the easiest part of the process. You then have to collect on the Judgment the court provided to you. This is not automatic. Just because you have a judgment does not mean the person or entity that owes on the judgment will voluntarily pay.

In Indiana, the most common form of collecting on a judgment once one is obtained is through the garnishment of wages. The wage garnishment statutes in Indiana are favorable for creditors. An employer will be required to pay a percentage of an employee’s wages into the court if they receive the proper paperwork from the Judgment creditor. The formula that is used is 25% of net income (net income is take-home wages after deducting only taxes and Social Security withholding’s). If the Judgment debtor takes home less than $217.50 per week, which is 30 hours at minimum wage of $7.25 then nothing is taken from their wages on a garnishment. If they make between $217.50 and $290 the entire amount over $217.50 up to $290 is taken as garnishment. If their net income is over $290 then 25% of their wages are garnished. This formula is provided to employers on the paperwork they receive from the court instructing them to garnish the employee’s wages to satisfy the judgment. There can be other considerations such as support payments and independent contractor issues that could change this formula.

What if a debtor has multiple garnishments?

First in time pays. If your garnishment is taking the max 25%, any other garnishments filed after yours has to wait until yours is paid in full. This also works against you, if you are behind another garnishment. This is also where the streamlined process of Small Claims may help you get to a garnishment sooner and beat out other creditors.

Contact Perry Law Office an experienced Fort Wayne debt collection attorney today. Call our Fort Wayne, Indiana law firm at (260) 483-3110 to discuss legal collection services at any stage of delinquency. We offer retail (consumer) and commercial (business to business) Debt Collections.

 

 

 

 

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY CLAIM IF THE PERSON THAT OWES ME MONEY DIES?

If someone owes you money (a debtor), does your claim die with that person?

The short answer is NO, however you have a limited time to act and preserve your right. This does not mean you are going to get paid as this will depend on the decedent’s assets but it allows you the option of getting paid.

 

Time-frame/Deadline to file Claim

Indiana Law provides creditors with a very short window of opportunity to present a claim against a deceased debtor. Indiana code  29-1-14-1 provides that all claims against a deceased person are barred if not filed within nine (9) months after the date death. This means that you must file a claim in the debtor’s estate within nine (9) months of the date of  their death.

  • It does not matter if you were not notified.
  • It does not matter if an estate was not opened for the debtor.

What if no Estate is opened?

If an estate was not opened for the debtor you would need to take action to have an estate opened in order to file your claim. Obviously doing this might not be economically feasible unless your claim is substantial and you believe or know that the debtor might have assets sufficient to cover the amount of your claim. You would have to pay any filing fees or other associated costs, if any. By doing this you are hoping the debtor has sufficient money to pay all expenses ahead of yours (administrative expenses, other creditors who may be head of you, ie, mortgage company). This may not be known until you open the estate and file your claim.

What if an Estate is opened?

If an estate has been opened and you find out about the estate within the nine (9) month period you can file a claim for the money the deceased owed you. However, there could be another roadblock. Normally when an attorney opens an estate for a decedent they publish notice of the opening of the estate in a local newspaper and notify by letter the known creditors of the decedent. You only have three (3) months from the date of first publication in the newspaper of the notice to file a claim. This could be less than  nine (9) months from the date of death.

If a person that owes you money dies, your best chance of recovery is to immediately contact an attorney knowledgeable in filing claims in estates.

 

 

Basics of Indiana Collection Law

If you are owed money and the person or entity that owes you refuses to pay you will have to make the decision whether or not you want to take the matter to court to enforce collection of the monies owed to you. In Indiana for claims involving $6,000 or less, $8,000 or less in Marion County Indiana, there is a simplified procedure for filing a lawsuit in what is called Small Claims Court. The filing fee generally changes slightly from year to year but it should be around $90. Most courts in Indiana are going to e-filing. As a pro-se plaintiff, you are able to file as before. But that law could change in the future.

The advantage to filing in Small Claims Court is a faster route to trial if a trial is necessary. In addition to a streamlined process for obtaining a judgment, Small Claims Court is also designed for a streamlined process for the collection of the judgment. If a trial is required then it usually can be scheduled in a relatively short period of time. One month up to six months. This is a much quicker time frame in which to get in front of a judge than you would have in a court outside of Small Claims Court. Many claims are reduced to judgment without the need for a trial and in that case, you might have a judgment Within 2 months after filing the lawsuit.

Obtaining a money judgment against the person or entity that owes you money is often the easiest part of the process. You then have to collect on the Judgment the court provided to you. This is not automatic. Just because you have a judgment does not mean the person or entity that owes on the judgment will voluntarily pay.

In Indiana, the most common form of collecting on a judgment once one is obtained is through the garnishment of wages. The wage garnishment statutes in Indiana are favorable for creditors. An employer will be required to pay a percentage of an employee’s wages into the court if they receive the proper paperwork from the Judgment creditor through the court system. The formula that is used is 25% of net income (net income is take-home wages after deducting only taxes and Social Security withholdings). If the Judgment debtor makes less than $217.50 which is 30 hours at minimum wage of $7.25 then nothing is taken from their wages on a garnishment. If they make between $217.50 and $290 the entire amount over $217.50 up to $290 is taken as garnishment. If their net income is over $290 then 25% of their wages are garnished. This formula is provided to employers on the paperwork they receive from the court instructing them to garnish the employee’s wages to satisfy the judgment. There can be other considerations such as support payments and independent contractor issues that could change this formula.

Perry Law Office can help you collect on this difficult to collect judgments or help you obtain a judgment.

What happens to my claim if the person that owes me money dies?

If someone owes you money (a debtor), does your claim die with that person? The short answer is NO, however you have a limited time to act and preserve your right. This does not mean you are going to get paid as this will depend on the decedent’s assets but it allows you the option of getting paid.

Indiana Law provides creditors with a very short window of opportunity to present a claim against a deceased debtor. Indiana code  29-1-14-1 provides that all claims against a deceased person are barred if not filed within nine (9) months after the date death. This means that you must file a claim in the debtor’s estate within nine (9) months of the date of  their death. It does not matter if you were not notified. It does not matter if an estate was not opened for the debtor. If an estate was not opened for the debtor you would need to take action to have an estate opened in order to file your claim. Obviously doing this might not be economically feasible unless your claim is substantial and you believe or know that the debtor might have assets sufficient to cover the amount of your claim. You would have to pay any filing fees or other associated costs, if any. By doing this you are hoping the debtor has sufficient money to pay all expenses ahead of yours (administrative expenses, other creditors who may be head of you, ie, mortgage company). This may not be known until you open the estate and file your claim.

If an estate has been opened and you find out about the estate within the nine (9) month period you can file a claim for the money the deceased owed you. However, there could be another roadblock. Normally when an attorney opens an estate for a decedent they publish notice of the opening of the estate in a local newspaper and notify by letter the known creditors of the decedent. You only have three (3) months from the date of first publication in the newspaper of the notice to file a claim. This could be less than  nine (9) months from the date of death.

If a person that owes you money dies, your best chance of recovery is to immediately contact an attorney knowledgeable in filing claims in estates.

 

Thank you

Perry Law Office, P.C.
260-483-3110
www.perryoffice.net

 

Collecting On a Debt Is Not As Easy As It May Seem

There is a misconception that getting a money judgment against someone, means they will pay you. In general, that is NOT the case. We, at Perry Law Office, have found that on average it can take up to two (2) years to collect on a judgment depending on the various circumstances and how old the debt is. There are of course those rare circumstances when you get paid immediately upfront. But in most circumstances that is not the case. Getting the money judgment is only the first step. Debtors, tend to move. Debtors, tend to switch jobs. Debtors, tend to be unwilling to voluntarily pay a debt they owe. Debt Collection takes some time and hard work. Finding employment, personal assets, or bank accounts can be very difficult. Not to mention, finding the debtor and getting proper service in order to enforce your claim against them.  The experienced staff and attorneys at Perry Law Office, are equipped to find these debtors and collect from them. Perry Law Office can find where they are working and garnish their wages, levy on their bank account, or set up voluntary payments. If someone owes you money and you are not sure how to collect, hire an experienced lawyer to help you collect the money owed to you. Hiring an attorney is not as painful as you may believe. In most cases, you do NOT have to pay the attorney any attorney fees. Like at Perry Law Office, our fee is typically done on a contingent fee basis, meaning if we do NOT collect, you do not owe us anything. Call Perry Law Office to discuss how we may be able to help you recoup your money.