Common questions about Illinois exemptions

Answers to questions we commonly receive regarding Illinois exemptions:

1. An account with more than one signatory is prima facie considered 100% the property of each signatory. The accountholders can prove the actual ownership of the funds. This normally requires affidavits and documents as to the source of the funds and the reason for multiple signatories.

2. Social security, SSI, public assistance, and private and governmental pension and disability benefits are exempt. The bank is supposed to exempt a certain amount on its own under federal law, but all such funds are exempt, regardless of whether the bank is required to exempt them on its own. Again, you will need documentation as to the source of the funds to claim the exemption. It is a good idea to deposit such funds in an account containing only such funds.

3. There is a $4000 per person "wildcard" exemption that can be claimed for a bank account. (735 ILCS 5/12-1001)

4. Exemptions must be claimed on the return date of the citation or by motion filed before that date. A motion generally requires 2 days notice but can be done as an emergency.

4. In the event of seizure of Social Security, SSI, public assistance, or pension or disability benefits by citation or garnishment, inform the creditor's attorney of the nature of the funds, with as much documentation as possible (account statements for a number of months should be sufficient). If they do not release the funds immediately (e.g., 1 business day) they may be in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

We are familiar with these and other issues, and can protect your interests. Please contact us if you are facing collection activity . The 12 attorneys in our firm have a total of more than 100 years experience handling consumer lawsuits. We look forward to hearing from you about this or any other consumer legal problem you wish to discuss. There is no charge for consultation.

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