The seizure of property by unsecured creditors

Many Arizona residents have experience in dealing with various collection agencies. The manner of collection employed often depends on whether the original debt is secured or unsecured in nature. Although many people are aware that a secured creditor may be able to seize property in the event of non-payment, some may not know that unsecured creditors may also attain that option through litigation.

An unsecured creditor that initiates legal action through a debt collection lawsuit may potentially earn the right in court to seize and sell a debtor's property. However, this is not necessarily guaranteed. While a judge may indeed rule in favor of the creditor, the creditor may explore alternative methods of collection, such as levying bank balances or garnishing paychecks. In addition, if a property already has a previously filed lien made upon it, a creditor will not be able to sell the property until that previous lien has been resolved.

In some cases, the mere act of having a judgment lien placed on property can lead to hardship. For instance, a lien can restrict the owner of a property from selling his or her home until the obligation represented by the judgment lien has been paid off.

In cases such as this, someone struggling with unsecured debts may benefit from having their financial situation reviewed by an attorney. In addition to possibly aiding a client with aspects of their financial planning, an attorney may be able to assist in negotiations with creditors to explore various options for repayment. In some situations, filing for bankruptcy may be the optimal solution for allowing someone to restore their finances and achieve the fresh start they desire.

Source: SF Gate, "Can Unsecured Creditors Collect Their Debt from the Sale of My Home?", Ciele Edwards, December 12, 2014

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