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Locating assets, skip tracing services, finding debtors, enforcing a judgment
It goes without saying: if you can’t find the assets, you can’t seize them!
The biggest obstacle for most civil judgment holders is often their inability to locate the assets of the judgment debtor.
An asset is any item of value owned by a business or individual. Assets that can be quickly converted into cash are considered liquid assets. Other assets include real estate, personal property, and items that can be sold.
Here’s a list of some of the assets that can be seized through the court to satisfy a debtor judgment:
real estate/house, cash, business income/equipment/inventory, rental income, vehicles, money deposited into bank accounts, wages (25% in most states), stocks/bonds/mutual funds, annuities/lottery payments, royalties, inheritances, personal property (jewelry, furniture, collections, firearms, etc), business accounts receivable, livestock, crops, and security deposits.
There are some assets that will be considered exempt, or at least a significant portion of those assets will be exempt from the enforcement of a debtor judgment. These exemptions were created to protect debtors from losing too much that he/she can’t start over, or live with basic necessities.
Typically, common exemptions include life insurance, welfare, health and disability income, social security income, 401(k) benefits, unemployment insurance, insurance benefits, workman’s compensation, retirement benefits, and child/spousal support.
There are many ways to locate the judgment debtor and his/her assets: this is called skip tracing.
Most skip tracing can be conducted online with Investigations123.com using the information available in public records, but sometimes it’ll be necessary to get access to private consumer records.
Private consumer information would include full consumer credit reports, banking detail reports and other data that isn’t readily available to the general public.
You’ll have access to private consumer information once you’ve obtained an assignment of judgment, and then you’ll legally become the judgment creditor and the owner of the judgment. You’ll have every right to obtain consumer credit history and other critical financial information about your judgment debtor.
Anyway, also included with Investigations123.com are UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) filings searches, where bank account information will often be revealed (*).
Anyone who has ever applied for financing, has a credit card, opened an account for utilities, applied for or opened a bank account, or has accumulated bad debt, will leave a paper trail.
These reports will reveal a lot about your debtor including current and former employers, bank accounts, driver’s license numbers, current and former addresses, telephone numbers, aliases, social security number, date of birth, bankruptcies, collection efforts, other creditors, as well as a list of anyone who’s inquired into the subject’s credit history.
And Investigations123.com’ Deep Web Search Report will probably discover the debtor has a website for business or general family purposes, or a social media site. And it’s amazing how much personal information people share on those sites!
Normally, the whole process of skip tracing is initiated with the judgment debtor examination, which requires the debtor to appear in court and testify under oath what assets he/she owns.
Information that you should obtain during a judgment debtor examination includes date of birth, social security number, employer, bank account information and real and personal property.
Search on Investigations123.com about real estate and personal property records, to find out if the debtor owns a home, vehicles or anything else of the sort.
If he/she owns a home, you can transcribe the judgment with the county recorders office to place a lien on the property. If he/she ever sells the property, after mortgage holders, the remaining funds will pay the debtor judgment.
Inspect public records with Investigations123.com to see if the debtor ever wrote a check to pay any portion of what he/she owed. If so, file a garnishment at that bank in the hope that the debtor still holds a bank account there. If the debtor lives in a small town with just a few banks, send a garnishment to every bank in the local area, as the debtor is likely to hold a bank account at one of them.
(*) Note: a UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) filing is a lien placed by a financial institution against the assets of a business or individual for an unpaid loan.