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Garnishment of account that I am signatory on?

Milwaukee, WI |

My husband has a civil judgment against him . I live in a community property state , so is it correct to assume any accounts my name is associated with can be garnished as well ? Can accounts that I am not the owner of , but a signatory on , be garnished ? And if I am a trustee of an estate , can that be garnished since I am a signatory on the account ? My husband has no association with either of those accounts .

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Attorney answers 2


If the judgment is against your husband and not you, then the judgment creditor cannot seize an account just in your name. If the account were owned jointly (as determined by the listed owner on the signature card at the bank) by you and your husband, then the judgment creditor can also seize the account if it goes through the proper legal steps to do so. The phrase "accounts my name is associated with" is too vague to be meaningful. The determinative factor is ownership of the account. You could be "associated" with an account in that you have been granted check writing privileges because the owner is incapacitated. That does not make you an owner of the account. If your creditors had a judgment against you they could not seize an account that your only connection to is that you have check writing privileges for the benefit of the owner of the account. If you are trustee of an estate and there is a bank account owned by the estate, then creditors of you cannot seize that account. If the estate is your husband's estate, then his creditors may well assert a right to some of that account, but they would need to do that through the administration of that estate--such as by filing their claim in that estate proceeding. The fact that you are in a community property state does not alter the results of the statements made above. If someone tries to attach or seize any account that does not have your husband's name on it to satisfy a debt of your husband, then the named account owner needs to hire a qualified attorney to protect their rights.



I appreciate the thorough answer. The reason I am asking is to avoid needing an attorney for the people who are not at all involved in this situation. The estate is not my husbands. In my reading it has been unclear how far reaching the "community property" clause reaches in relation to a garnishment on bank accounts. Thank you for taking the time to answer. It helps clear up the cloudy thinking.


Unless the judgment is against both you & your husband jointly, any assets you own in your own name ought to be safe. If you don't own an account, but are merely an authorized signer, the creditor cannot take the assets even if the judgment did include you. As you say the judgment is only against him, you ought to be safe. Hope this perspective helps!



Thank you for taking the time to respond. As I said above, it hasn't been clear in my research what exactly can be taken given that we live in a community property state.

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