Salem, OR asked in Estate Planning, Collections and Elder Law for Oregon

Q: Can money be garnished from my trust fund inheritance check when I cash it? If I owe student loan money?

1 Lawyer Answer
Joanne Reisman
Joanne Reisman
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: To do a garnishment a creditor first has to have a judgment from the court. Then they have to serve garnishment papers on someone who has your property or money. So if you go somewhere to cash a check it is unlikely that your creditor would be aware of you doing this in time to serve garnishment papers on the person who is cashing your check.

The fact that you owe student loans means you have a debt and the debt has special characteristics being that it is a student loan. Whoever is servicing your student loan debt can certainly attempt to use any legal means to collect the debt but they are probably not going to be aware that you are getting a trust fund inheritance so they probably won't know to go after it unless they have been made aware of this inheritance some how. If you have some reason to believe that the entity servicing your student loan debt knows about your upcoming trust fund inheritance, you might want to speak to an attorney ahead of time.

As a practical matter it would be a good idea to pay off your student loan if you can so using your trust fund inheritance to pay off that debt would be a good idea. This is because your student loan debt generally speaking can't be avoided even if you file for bankruptcy. Other debts can be discharged in bankruptcy. So dealing with this debt as a priority is generally recommended. But buying something you really need like a car to get to work can also be an important priority. I would definitely advise you to consult with an Attorney and discuss what your options are.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.