While getting copies of a judgment at the clerk’s office the other day, I heard a man say those exact words. This was after the clerk had asked “…but you want to execute on what assets or garnish what accounts?” Apparently another clerk told him over the phone that he just needed to go to the clerk’s office and get a writ of execution. Easy peasy.
The problem is, and any attorney would tell you, you need to name the assets, accounts, or income that you want the sheriff to execute or garnish. The man was frustrated because he didn’t have any of that information, and didn’t know how to get it.
That’s when I thought, gosh, you’re in good shape if you already have the judgment. We could set a deposition, hire our friends at Sharpline Investigations to find the assets. Depositions can be expensive, so we probably would’ve called Sharpline first. For a few hundred dollars you can find out almost every asset a person has, usually. The gentleman at the courthouse thought there was no way to find bank accounts or investments.
If they don’t answer, or the investigation is fruitless, well, maybe it’s time to just record your judgment and start checking up on your defendant periodically to see if there’s anything worth while to satisfy your judgment.
Knowing the answer to the questions the gentleman didn’t know to ask, I realized what his statement really meant. What he was really saying, is that it’s easier to be a crook than to be a lawyer. That’s true in most cases. Although, it’s a lot easier to hire a lawyer, than it is to be a crook or to fumble your way through the system.
We know the answers to questions non-lawyers don’t even know to ask. This is true in every area of our practice. From litigation, where we know to depose a judgment debtor or get an investigator on the case; to Probate, where we know who has to get what notice and when so that the estate doesn’t end up in probate for months on end unnecessarily.
I’m an amateur electrician, carpenter, auto-mechanic and landscaper. I like to do as much as I can for myself. If I don’t have to hire a professional I don’t want to. I tried laying tile once, and I discovered doing that is too difficult for me. I don’t get it. So I had to hire a professional. Once I did that, it was no longer my problem. The pro was done in less time than I could’ve imagined, he knew all the tricks. Hiring us to handle your case means you don’t have to worry about it anymore- it’s our problem now.
We’ve seen people who tried to do probate on their own with forms found online, only to have to hire us to finish the job. They wasted weeks or months, and realized they should’ve hired us long ago.
You have to at least call us. Let us help by explaining what we can do, and tell you when we know how to get the answer to a question you don’t know exists. Our Florida probate attorneys can help, and we’re also Florida litigation attorneys, so we can help with that too.
Remember, we’re here for you. This blog post isn’t legal advice, and if you have a judgment you want to collect you should seek the advice of an attorney. Investigators don’t usually just let anyone walk in and get a report. Nor would I recommend trying to do a deposition by yourself.