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When a lawyer sends and affidavit of assets before filing a civil case, what must the defendant do to comply ?

Pompano Beach, FL |

When a lawyer sends and affidavit of assets before filing a civil case, what must the defendant do to comply ? How long do they have to get back to them with the affidavit ?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer
Posted

You have provided little information about the nature of the purported claim, the type of case that the lawyer threatens to file, etc., making it difficult for an attorney to deal with your question in this forum. However, if the attorney was writing you a letter stating that it was his client's intention to file such a suit, and that in the event you wished to stipulate to some type of payment plan or whatever, likely the affidavit regarding your assets which he is asking you to execute is a measure to determine what you might own which could possibly be used to satisfy a judgment for more than the amount of your insurance coverage. For example, if the civil suit is regarding a vehicular collision/accident, policy limits is often the best a plaintiff suing a defendant can hope for if the defendant owns nothing else but his homestead, which is exempt from claims of creditors. In such cases, sometimes the attorney will advise the plaintiff to accept offered policy limits from the insurance company insuring the defendant and settle for that rather than pursue more against a defendant who has nothing to take even if a judgment is rendered for an amount exceeding the insurance coverage available. Before a civil case is filed, there is no way to make you execute such an affidavit, because the rules of civil procedure regarding discovery do not yet apply to you since you have not been served with a summons or a copy of any complaint filed in the civil court system. However, it can sometimes be in your own best interest to cooperate in such efforts. You should consult an attorney before signing any forms sent to you by someone threatening to sue you because you may not fully understand the significance or legal effect of what you are signing otherwise.

If you found this answer to be the "best answer", please mark the box "best answer" below.This answer is offered by a member of the Fla. Bar, and the response is based solely upon the factual scenario framed by the inquiry in the question. Such questions often omit important facts which could dramatically affect the answer the responding attorney would provide, had additional facts and further information been made available by the writer of the question. It is always advisable to engage in a more thorough, conference type of setting when seeking definitive legal advice as it is impossible for any attorney to fully address all of the possible issues, or to outline all possible defenses, or fully explore all angles of a legal question in this limited format setting. This attorney's response to the question in no way creates an attorney-client relationship with the writer of the initial question.If you feel this answer is the best one provided, please check the box indicating it as the best answer you received through Avvo.

Asker

Posted

That is good information ! Thanks

Asker

Posted

So, you are saying that you have to be served a summons or complaint filed in a civil court system before, they can make you execute an affidavit of assets ? How often is this done ?

Evelyn Watts Cloninger

Evelyn Watts Cloninger

Posted

The court, and certainly not the parties to a "future " suit, have any jurisdiction over you until you are served with a summons. This is referred to as "service of process", when you get a summons to appear in court to answer the complaint , which is attached to the summons, and giving you a specific time in which you must respond or face possibility of a default being entered against you. As a potential defendant in this matter, you should be either enjoying the defense of your own insurance company's lawyer, or you should get your own, particularly if this involves an accident of some sort. In any event, do not sign papers related to potential litigation EVER without having an attorney look them over for you and advise you as to their effect upon your legal position. You cannot get sufficient advice on such a matter in this type of forum. There are too many "ifs", "buts" that require an attorney answering in this venue have to put all kinds of warnings in their answer. There are many issues involved, the facts of the case are important, the nature of the case, the cause of action involved in the potential litigation. Invest in an office conference with your local lawyer downt here. It is the wisest thing to do in your situation.

Evelyn Watts Cloninger

Evelyn Watts Cloninger

Posted

The court does NOT have any jurisdiction over you until you are served. I left out the NOT in my typed answer above!

Asker

Posted

OK! Thanks ! That is very useful information ! I really appreciate your responses !

Posted

There is not enough information in the question to give a great answer. If there is no case pending and a creditor is asking you for an affidavit of assets, it is up to you whether to provide that information. If it helps reach a mutually acceptable resolution, great. If it does not, they will use the information in any collection efforts against you. You would do well to consult with an attorney. If you cannot afford one, you can try Legal Aid.

There is no substitute for the professional advice of an attorney who knows your case and represents you. My post is not, and may not be relied on as, legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Best wishes for a just and expeditious resolution.

Posted

Because there isn't much information here, I recommend consulting personally with an attorney in your area. You need to be sure that this is not a post-judgment fact information sheet that is required by the Court for you to complete. Failure to complete it could result in a finding of civil contempt.