Can I file a motion to vacate a default judgment by myself or must an attorney do it?

UPDATED: Mar 9, 2015

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Can I file a motion to vacate a default judgment by myself or must an attorney do it?

My uncle, a mentally incapacitated individual, was being sued for a debt that was not his. At the time of the suit, my mother was the trustee of the irrevocable special needs Trust set up for him, however she was in the hospital and weeks later passed away. I am now the trustee and also his power of attorney. A default judgment was entered against him and I would like to vacate the default judgment because now they entered a judgment lien against the property that is in the name of the Trust. Can I file this pro se or would the courts require an attorney. If there is no need for an attorney along with the motion to vacate the default judgment, what else would I have to file?

Asked on March 9, 2015 under Estate Planning, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You need a lawyer. You can only file pro se for *yourself*--not for a trust for which you are trustee, and not for a person for whom you are an attorney in fact (appointed by a POA). Only a lawyer admitted to the bar of your state can file anything on behalf of anyone or anything other than yourself.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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