No Regrets: Saving Creditors From Useless Judgments
Five Things Which Should Always Be Included On Intake Forms
Generally, everyone is enthusiastic and motivated at the beginning of a business transaction. The party providing a service is excited about the prospect of helping a new client, and the new client is excited about receiving the needed assistance. However, it is important that at this phase of the transaction, the party providing the service pause to ensure they are receiving information from the client which can later be extremely valuable.
The crux of debt collection occurs before any goods or services are exchanged. At this
beginning phase, the potential client seeks a service and is willing to provide information in order to get the service. This is when the importance of intake forms comes into play. Potential clients are accustomed to completing intake forms which request specific personally identifying information, and if available there is no reason this information should not be included in the initial intake form. Personally identifying information is any data that could potentially be used to easily identify a particular person.
1. Social Security Number – The social security number is the most common and arguably most valuable of the different types of personally identifying information, as it is unique to each person. If a client defaults on their obligation to pay for the services or goods, the creditor can sue and obtain a judgment. An asset locating service can use the social security number to obtain bank account information, place of employment, personal property, and real property.
2. Date of Birth – The date of birth is best used with the social security number and an asset locating service to obtain the client’s bank account information, place of employment, personal property and real property.
3. Bank Account Information – A regular garnishment (e.g. bank garnishment) can be filed with the court using the name of the client’s banking institution. The exact bank account numbers are not necessary.
4. Employment Information – A continuing garnishment (e.g. wage garnishment) can be filed using the identity of the client’s employer. In Georgia, a creditor can garnish the lessor of 25% of the debtor’s disposable income or the amount by which the debtor’s disposable earnings exceed 30% of the federal minimum wage. Disposable earnings are those wages left after the employer has taken those deductions required by law. If the disposable income is less than 30 times minimum wage, it cannot be garnished.
5. Other Tangible Assets – Intake forms can also request a client provide details regarding their real and personal property. Once a judgment is granted against the debtor, a Writ of Fieri Facias (Writ of Fi Fa) can be entered which will attach to the debtor’s property located in the judgment county. A Writ of Fi Fa is a document issued by the county clerk’s office which records a lien against the debtor’s real property (e.g. house) and personal property (e.g. automobiles) in the judgment county. In addition to putting a lien on property, a Writ of Fi Fa can be used to seize personal property assets.
Garnishments and Writs of Fi Fa can be pursued after a judgment is entered against the debtor. Obtaining the above information on the front-end will provide a more streamline post-judgment collections process.