By Stephen J. Muhonen, Creditor’s Rights / Collections Attorney, Racine Olson, PLLP
One of the first things I discuss with new clients whom are seeking legal representation to collect money from their debtors is whether the debtor has any assets that can be collected upon. In my opinion, an attorney taking on a new client in this circumstance, without initially exploring collection opportunities or options, is performing a great dis-service to the client. The client came to the attorney in the hopes of being paid that for which they are entitled. If all that is obtained is a “toilet-paper” judgment, then what has the client gained? Now of course I realize and recognize that sometimes the collectability of a pursued judgment cannot always be readily discovered, but there should at least be some attempt to see if collection is even going to be a possibility.
When performing the due diligence of exploring debtor’s assets, the investigation should take place with an eye on what assets may be subject to exemptions. Now just because there are or may be statutory exemptions in place pertaining to the debtor’s property, that does not necessarily mean that one should avoid pursuing the debtor’s property. It is up to the debtor to assert the claim of exemption and to do it timely. If this is not done, the creditor may continue to execute/levy/garnish the property. Some of the exemptions available to debtors are: