If you or your business are owed money, then you may need to take legal action to collect. After filing a complaint, and eventually obtaining a judgment against the debtor, then what? Obtaining the judgment is only part of the process necessary to collect on your debt from a debtor located in Pennsylvania.
More often than not, simply obtaining a judgment will not compel a debtor to voluntarily hand over the money which is owed to you. However, the best way to go about collecting on a judgment is by garnishment of a debtor’s bank account with the help of a PA collections attorney. Pennsylvania law provides that bank accounts can be garnished in fulfillment of a Pennsylvania judgment on a debt. Both business bank accounts and personal bank accounts are subject to garnishment under PA law. While there are certain funds which are exempt from garnishment, the majority of the debtor’s funds will be affected. When bank accounts are successfully garnished, it is almost always a surprise to the PA debtor, as their account is immediately frozen in its entirety. Chances are your debtor will be calling your PA collections attorney to resolve the matter immediately.
Garnishment is simply the act of directing a business that is holding funds, usually a bank, for an individual who owes money to you, to place a freeze on that money and distribute it to you as a creditor. Garnishing funds is also a warning bank (or “garnishee”) not to pay the debtor, and to inform the Court as to how much money is being held in their account. If the garnishee should give the frozen or garnished funds to the debtor, the Garnishee will be liable to pay the creditor for a certain amount up to the amount of the funds that were held by the Garnishee.
Garnishing bank accounts is often a successful way to satisfy a Pennsylvania debt; however, there are some pitfalls which you should be aware of. In order to successfully garnish an account, a bank account must first be specifically located, as this information is generally not available to the public. You cannot simply “blanket” a geographic area, randomly send paperwork to every bank (or “garnishee”), and hope that one of them holds an account for your debtor. An experienced PA collections attorney employs various methods for locating Pennsylvania bank accounts and filing the proper paperwork with the court, sheriff, and bank to then properly garnish them.
Overall, garnishing a bank account is the fastest and most effective way to collect from a debtor and it is important to have a PA collections attorney involved, as there are exceptions and other rules associated with the garnishment of bank accounts and garnishment process is both confusing and tedious in nature.
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