August 25, 2017

Collecting Judgments: One More Place to Look

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Once you have obtained a judgment against someone through court action, you are cast onto the often far more difficult course of actually trying to collect it. Sometimes the debtor has gone out of business or simply disappeared. Sometimes the debtor is well meaning but completely broke. You cannot find bank accounts, hard assets, accounts receivable or anything else to attach to collect your judgment. 

Here is one more place you might look for funds from which to collect your judgment. 

The Indiana Attorney General maintains a list of unclaimed property. When a check has been outstanding for too long or other property goes unclaimed for a period of time, it is turned over to the Attorney General who holds it as unclaimed property. It is held by the Attorney General for a period of time, with it listed in a central registry in the name of the person to whom it is owed. 

While it is always a good idea to check your own name on the abandoned property registry to see if you missed cashing that dividend check years ago, this registry may also provide a source for collecting judgments. The Office of the Attorney General advises that unclaimed funds standing in the name of a debtor can upon proper procedure levied upon by a judgment creditor. 

Maintaining a list of people and entities who owe you money under judgments, and then periodically checking that list against the Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Registry, may from time to time turn up an asset that can be levied upon to pay your judgment.