Can a debt collector go after money in a joint account?

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Can a debt collector go after money in a joint account?

When my parents passed away I bought off my 3 other brother and sisters share of the house and kept the house. I paid my brother with my own money and my 2 sisters got paid with money I borrowed from a mortgage companyOne of my sisters is/was living in another country, so I opened an account for her in the US and deposited the check that she got from the mortgage company in that account . In order to be able to do that I had to open a joint account. Recently I was served with a court summon from a credit card collector lawyer. Can they go after that money? If so, what can I do so that my sister does not lose her money to pay my creditors?

Asked on April 29, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Under the debt collection laws of all states in this country, a judgment creditor can levy upon a joint bank account and seize all money in it even though the account may be owned by another person besides the judgment debtor. The rationale is that the joint account is owned jointly and severally by the judgment debtor and another person regardless of the amount in it.

In your situation if you want to protect the money of your sister in the joint account that you have written, I suggest that the account's name be changed where she is its owner but you are the designated trustee or attorney in fact under it. For example: "sister's name, by and through her designated attorney in fact, your name."


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