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Right of Creditor to Seize Account

Question:: I’m 18 and have had a bank acct for 2 years. I put my parents on the account so that they can use it too. Yesterday, the account was frozen because of a judgment against my parents. Is this legal?

Answer: Under Illinois law, a bank account is prima facie the property of each account holder. The account holder who owns the money has the right to show the court that it is his and not the other account holder’s. This should be done by motion, supported by affidavit or records showing where the money came from.

Also note that there is a “wildcard” exemption of $4,000 per account holder. This has to be claimed in writing, preferably by a motion to release $4,000.

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