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I have a judgement against me from an unsecured creditor. If I receive inheritance cash is there a way they can get it legally

Plano, TX |

My father left me a trust fund 45 years ago payable to me on my mother's death. She just died and I have an outstanding judgment against me. If I take the distribution in cash, is there any way the creditor can get my money and am I legally liable to pay the cash to the creditor? In Texas.

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

They can legally garnish your bank account if you simply deposit the cash in there or any account you are connected to. This may never happen but creditors tend to be alerted when judgment debtors have money in the bank. I've had many clients say they were about to make a down payment on something then all of the sudden their account was cleaned out by a judgment from years ago that they had forgotten about.

You should meet with an attorney who focuses on asset protection. Also, rather than continuing to live with this judgment hanging over you, it may be better to work out a settlement with the creditor and get a release if you have the means to do so now. The creditor may agree to a lump sum for a discounted amount in exchange for a release. If you go that route, you should not try to settle it on your own, get an attorney.

My comments are not legal advice and are for informational purposes only.


Assuming the judgment is still valid, then the judgment constitutes your legal liability to pay the judgment creditor. However, you do not have to volunteer the funds unless you want to. The creditor, though, can try to garnish the funds from you or your bank account. You may want to have an attorney look at the judgment and see whether trying to settle might be appropriate.

I am licensed only in Texas. Offering information of a general nature in response to a question is not intended to be legal advice in your state.


You need to talk to an attorney about exemption planning. Do not delay.


As always in the law, it depends. If the trust was setup a particular way, then the trust assets, even with you as beneficiary, should be protected so long as certain rules are followed. Be mindful, though, once funds hit your account, then they are accessible by the creditor. You should probably speak with an attorney and bring the trust document, the judgment, and any other relevant information.

In addition, this may be a good time to do some of your own estate planning.

The above statements are provided as general information and not intended as legal advice. Each matter has its own set of unique circumstances that cannot be adequately addressed without consultation. You are strongly advised to hire an attorney licensed to practice law in your state to represent you.