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    tiaflygirl's Avatar
    tiaflygirl Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Jul 19, 2015, 04:13 PM
    Judgement won
    I won a judgment against the defendant who was a businessman.
    I ordered his product and he took my money and ran. He was ordered to pay it back, and was doing so in
    Monthly increments. He suddenly died. Can I still retrieve the balance owed to me?
    He was married with children and had a home. Can anyone tell me what I need to do? Thank you

    Deni T
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
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    #2

    Jul 19, 2015, 05:39 PM
    You are screwed... your ability to collect died with him. People in the USA at least aren't responsible for or legally obligated to debts of their spouses or their parents (or others) after their death UNLESS they cosigned for said debt.

    If your mother or father died...could lending institutions come after you to collect? The judgment was against the Husband...not the wife or children.
    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #3

    Jul 19, 2015, 06:37 PM
    Wow! I need to move to the US. When my parents died I was named executor, and I had to pay out any obligation they had, be it a mortgage, a loan, cell phone payments, etc.

    It was part of their estate. Why is it that people in the US get away with not paying loans they owe out of their estate? Is that fair? I don't think so. So the guy died. Should the OP be punished for that?

    I don't know US law, but I think you should find out for sure if the executor of his will isn't responsible for paying his obligations.
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
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    #4

    Jul 19, 2015, 07:01 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Alty View Post
    Wow! I need to move to the US. When my parents died I was named executor, and I had to pay out any obligation they had, be it a mortgage, a loan, cell phone payments, etc.

    It was part of their estate. Why is it that people in the US get away with not paying loans they owe out of their estate? Is that fair? I don't think so. So the guy died. Should the OP be punished for that?

    I don't know US law, but I think you should find out for sure if the executor of his will isn't responsible for paying his obligations.
    In most cases Wife was co-owner of the assets in the USA and as such.. its not an estate to be settled (he could have rendered himself judgment proof by putting everything in their names alone).... and the judgement was against him... not her.. or the kids.

    Now if he was divorced... or the spouse was deceased... then yes the estate... assuming sufficient assets existed. Just as you described.

    Example... someones parents run up unsecured debts... they die with few assets... the Children aren't responsible for paying them unless they cosigned for them.

    But getting a lawyer to check into it certainly is a good idea. Worst that can happen is you will be out a small fee to find out if you can or not. In any case you will be hiring someone to try and collect. Winning a judgment is the easy part....collecting it is something different. And because this is in small claims ....doubtful the court will be involved in any collections actions.

    Good friend of mine won a civil action against a drunk driver, won a judgment....he spent over 30 years trying to collect anything. Because the other person kept no bank accounts and never put any property in their own name.














    e,
    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #5

    Jul 19, 2015, 07:09 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by smoothy View Post
    In most cases Wife was co-owner of the assets in the USA and as such.. its not an estate to be settled (he could have rendered himself judgment proof by putting everything in their names alone).... and the judgement was against him... not her.. or the kids.

    Now if he was divorced... or the spouse was deceased... then yes the estate... assuming sufficient assets existed.

    Example... someones parents run up unsecured debts... they die with few assets... the Children aren't responsible for paying them unless they cosigned for them.

    But getting a lawyer to check into it certainly is a good idea. Worst that can happen is you will be out a small fee to find out if you can or not. In any case you will be hiring someone to try and collect. Winning a judgment is the easy part....collecting it is something different. And because this is in small claims ....doubtful the court will be involved in any collections actions.














    e,
    That still makes no sense to me. My dad died 6 1/2 months before my mom. My dad had a cell phone, only his, he got it, he signed the contract. My mom never used it, didn't even know where it was when he died. She had to pay out the contract. When she died there was $50 left to be paid on that contract, and as the executor of the will, I had to pay it. Neither one of us signed that contract, but we had to pay, because my dad was deceased, my mom was his wife, and I was the executor of their will.

    Marital assets are marital assets, right? So if you're married, and your assets are joined, doesn't that mean that if a judgment is made on your husband, it's made on you as well? It's joint.

    It just makes no sense to me why the OP should be out the money that he/she won in court, because the defendant is deceased. This should be covered by his estate. Not the wife and kids, but his estate, which may well mean that the wife and kids need to pay up.

    Does this man even have a will?
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
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    #6

    Jul 19, 2015, 07:22 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Alty View Post
    That still makes no sense to me. My dad died 6 1/2 months before my mom. My dad had a cell phone, only his, he got it, he signed the contract. My mom never used it, didn't even know where it was when he died. She had to pay out the contract. When she died there was $50 left to be paid on that contract, and as the executor of the will, I had to pay it. Neither one of us signed that contract, but we had to pay, because my dad was deceased, my mom was his wife, and I was the executor of their will.

    Marital assets are marital assets, right? So if you're married, and your assets are joined, doesn't that mean that if a judgment is made on your husband, it's made on you as well? It's joint.

    It just makes no sense to me why the OP should be out the money that he/she won in court, because the defendant is deceased. This should be covered by his estate. Not the wife and kids, but his estate, which may well mean that the wife and kids need to pay up.

    Does this man even have a will?
    In the USA your mother wouldn't have had to pay for that cell phone contract. Any contract between him and them ended upon his death. Same with if he had signed up for a 5 year membership in the Cigar of the month club.... (or the old well known Columbia Music club)

    Which brings up a very good point for the OP. What country do you live in as this is an International site, and we have English speaking members from a number of countries and laws vary. I'm guessing USA OR Canada based on terminology used.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,304, Reputation: 7691
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    #7

    Jul 19, 2015, 11:21 PM
    The issue is, who was the judgement against? Him personal? And/or his business.

    Was it a personal judgement or a business judgement. If business, then who ever takes over the business, (unless it closes) will keep paying you.

    If personal, you find out (unless it has already been a while) where the persons estate will go though probate, and make a claim there. Also have you discussed this with his widow?
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6056
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    #8

    Jul 20, 2015, 04:48 AM
    As noted, either the business needs to keep paying you or you need to make a claim against the debtor's estate.

    If a person dies, his debt does not die with them, it becomes an encumbrance on his estate. If the estate has enough money to cover the debts, then creditors can be paid. If not, they are out of luck.
    tiaflygirl's Avatar
    tiaflygirl Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #9

    Jul 20, 2015, 10:45 PM
    Thanks for your input. I'm screwed. When I went to serve him, his business was closed down and phone disconnected. I found him anyway. I don't expect to get any more, but I will not give up. I am going to speak with an attorney this week, but I'm sure I know what the answer will be. Got back $500 from him. The total amount was $2600 plus all the expenses for serving him, etc. I got that judgment also, because he didn't show up in court. Well, I'm hoping maybe there is some loophole that the attorney can find, but I'm not holding my breath.Thanks for everyone's input. And I agree that a spouse should be responsible but that's the law, unfair as it is. It almost gives people a free pass to commit fraud.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,304, Reputation: 7691
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    #10

    Jul 21, 2015, 01:13 AM
    No, the estate, has to honor the judgement. The estate, when filed at probate court is given notice of the debt.
    tiaflygirl's Avatar
    tiaflygirl Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #11

    Jul 22, 2015, 07:33 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Fr_Chuck View Post
    No, the estate, has to honor the judgement. The estate, when filed at probate court is given notice of the debt.
    I don't think anything is in his name. I think he moved everything to the wife's name.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,304, Reputation: 7691
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    #12

    Jul 22, 2015, 10:31 PM
    But you do not know. People used to think the world was flat, until they investigated.

    I guess the issue, is how much work do you want to put into this.

    If you are OK, with just forgetting it, then do so.

    If for example, he moved things into wife's name, after your judgement, in order to hide assets, hen the wife's property may be subject to the order. This is something an attorney could investigate.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6056
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    #13

    Jul 23, 2015, 05:43 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by tiaflygirl View Post
    And I agree that a spouse should be responsible but that's the law, unfair as it is. It almost gives people a free pass to commit fraud.
    I don't necessarily agree with that. That leaves a spouse holding the bag for a dead beat. As Chuck noted, if assets were moved AFTER you obtained the judgment that would be fraud and make the spouse liable. So there is protection there if someone tries to hide assets.

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