Claim of Exemption Form
A Claim of Exemption form is used in follow up to the consumer receiving a notice of bank levy or wage garnishment. The form is one page in length and easy to fill out. The difficult part of the process is filling out the mandatory Financial Statement, which is an attachment to the Claim of Exemption form. This form is 2 pages in length. While on their face, the two forms are easy to fill out, the difficulty arises when the judgment-debtor attempts to list and value his or her basic necessities. Red flags include the amounts used for basic necessities, the types of expenses identified as basic necessities, and so on.
When both forms are filled out, the judgment-debtor provides two copies to the sheriff. Thereafter, the sheriff will serve a copy on the creditor. If prepared correctly, the judgment creditor will most likely decide to do nothing—in which case the bank levy will be reversed (and funds returned back to the account) and/or termination of the wage garnishment order, resulting in the sheriff returning all garnished wages, if any, to the employee.
Should the judgment-creditor decide to challenge the Claim of Exemption form, then he needs to timely (10 days) file an Opposition to the Claim of Exemption form. For most, it is the creditor’s last attempt to collect payment on the debt. If done properly and the figures listed as basic necessities are reasonable, there is little to nothing for the judgment-debtor to worry about.
True story: One day Mary received a notice of bank levy and with Ms. Garrett’s guidance and coaching, she prepared and submitted a timely Claim of Exemption form and Financial Statement. When the creditor reviewed the paperwork, the creditor decided to challenge her claim that $1,000 for groceries was for her basic necessities. As is usually the case, the creditor did not show up at the objection hearing; however, Maria did show up—ready to defend herself. When the judge asked her why her grocery bill was $1,000 (considered high for a basic necessity), Mary explained that her husband was unemployed and that the couple had nine minor children! She brought a copy of her Tax Return, proving that she was supporting her husband and their nine minor children, on her modest income of $5,500/month. The judge quickly granted a decision in Mary’s favor and immediately ordered that the sheriff return the funds taken from her bank account. Moral of this (true) story, if the facts and figures are on the side of the consumer, then the Claim of Exemption form will stop the judgment-creditor’s attempts to seize the judgment-debtor’s wages and/or assets. Period.How Can Ms. Garrett Help?
First, Ms. Garrett can assist the consumer with fully evaluating their financial situation to determine if they are completely insolvent. Then, if insolvent, Ms. Garrett can coach the consumer in connection with preparing the Claim of Exemption form and Financial Statement—helping to identify and address issues that the creditor would deem as red flags.
The coaching would include explaining the follow up procedures in connection with preparing the Claim of Exemption form.
To start the process, Ms. Garrett provides a for-profit initial two-hour consultation to assess the consumer’s financial situation with the goal of determining whether preparing the Claim of Exemption form is a suitable alternative to bankruptcy.
After the two-hour consultation, Ms. Garrett, at the client’s request, is available to provide a detailed coaching session in connection with the preparation of the Claim of Exemption form and Financial Statement.
If you wish to set up a consultation, Contact Ms. Garrett