Thomas B. Hjerpe, Esq.

Kenneth J. Collins, Esq.

Jocelyn M. Godniho, Esq.

Catherine M. Koshkin, Esq.

Of Counsel

350 E Street, First Floor

Eureka, CA  95501

Telephone:  707 442-7262

Law Office of

Hjerpe & Collins LLP

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people to file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code

Judgment Proof

Being “Judgment Proof” does not mean that you cannot be sued.  You certainly CAN be sued.  The term “Judgment Proof” is used to describe someone who doesn’t have anything that the law allows a judgment creditor to take.

If you do not own a home or have a job and you cannot pay your credit debts, you have an alternative to filing a bankruptcy.  If you do not file a bankruptcy you run the risk of being sued by a credit card company.  Only about one of three credit card companies will actually sue you.  However, you are likely to eventually get sued by one or more of them.  If you are sued the credit card company will get a judgment against you.  If they get a judgment, they will gain three collection powers against you.  

First, they will be able to attach the debt as a lien against your home.  In almost all cases this will not give them the power to sell your home.  Rather, it just attaches the debt to your home and allows it to grow at 10% interest.  You would only be forced to pay them if you, or anyone inheriting from you, were to transfer, sell or refinance the home.  If you intend to live in the home for the rest of your days, then having judgment liens will not get in your way.  

Second, they can garnish wages.  This allows a creditor to take 25% of your net pay.  However, this only affects employment income.  If your income is from Social Security and retirement, a creditor would not be able to garnish wages.

Third, they can levy on bank accounts.  A bank levy usually allows a creditor to take all of your money out of the bank.  However, if the only money that EVER goes into your bank account is your Social Security direct deposit, a creditor with a judgment would not be able to take any money out of your bank account.  You have to be careful with this.  If you deposit any money from any source into your Social Security direct deposit account, none of the money in the account is protected.   This means that you would have to have any retirement money mailed to you and you would have to cash the checks.  You would not be able to deposit retirement money into your Social Security direct deposit account without ruining the protection for the account.  This is the same with any other money.  However, the money in your Social Security direct deposit account could be protected.  There is a cap on the amount you can protect in the account, but the cap exceeds your monthly benefit, so just don=t let your benefits accumulate in the account.

Please note what they cannot do with a judgment.  If a creditor gets a judgment, in almost all cases they still will not have the power to take your car or your household goods and furnishings.  They will not be able to put you in jail for failure to pay the debt.  They cannot take your retirement accounts away.  Other than putting a lien on your home and trying to garnish wages and levy on bank accounts, there is very little they can do.

For those who do not need a bankruptcy to protect income or assets, a bankruptcy will still be an effective tool to stop the collection efforts and harassment and to eliminate the credit debts and any judgments for credit debts that have gone to litigation.

Social Security Direct Deposit Account

Money in a social security direct deposit account is protected if there are never any other deposits into the account.

A Lien Against Your Home

A judgment may attach as a lien against your home, but in virtually all cases your home will not be taken from you.

Living with Judgments

Many people can live with judgments against them.  If you do not own a home, if you do not have employment income and if you only have a social security direct deposit bank account, a judgment will be not be effective against you.

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How to Stop Harassment:

If you are being harassed by creditors you can find information and self-help remedies at: