Author Archives: Steve Harton

Sued by a Debt Collector in Arizona – What do I do?

Being sued by a debt collector in Arizona is scary. You wonder, is this really happening to me? You don’t know what to do. But remember, it is not the end of the world. You can fight back.

Take a deep breath, collect your thoughts, and come up with a plan. Looking for help on line is a great start. Here are some ideas of how to begin dealing with this. You can also watch the video at the end of this post for more ideas.

What not to do

Can you avoid the debt collection lawsuit by avoiding service? Probably not. In Arizona, a process server can come to your house, and give the papers to someone that answers the door. If that person appears somewhat responsible, then you have been served.

Imagine if the process server gives the papers to your teenager who was texting and listening to music on their earbuds. They might then put them in the pile of papers on the kitchen counter with all the bills and other things that you don’t want to look at.

Just answer the door yourself, take the papers, and do what you need to do. (Including going through that pile of bills and papers at least once a week).

What to do if you have been sued by a debt collector in Arizona

You must do two very important things if you have been sued.

Write down the day that you were served papers

This is super important. When you get served papers, write down the date and time you were served the papers. Write it on the back of the Summons.

If you do not do this, you will forget the exact date. Hundreds of people have come to my office with their lawsuits, and they cannot remember the day they were served. Then we have to rush to file the answer, and hope we do not miss the deadline.

Every lawsuit has to be answered within a certain time. If you miss that deadline, a default judgment can be entered against you.

File an Answer at the courthouse within twenty days

In Arizona, you have to file an answer to your debt collection lawsuit within twenty days of being served.

Answering the lawsuit does not mean calling the courthouse, or faxing them some papers, or emailing something to the Clerk. You must actually file something in writing at the courthouse.

Here is a video made by John Skiba of the Skiba Law Group. John is an Arizona consumer protection attorney. In this video, he will give you some tips on how to handle being sued by a debt collector in Arizona.

Conclusion

If you have been sued by a debt collector, do not panic. Accept the papers, write down, the date that you were served, and file an answer with the Court.

By Steve Harton

Steve is a practicing attorney licensed in Wyoming, Florida and Utah.

Affidavit of Survivorship in Wyoming

Whenever people own property as joint tenants, or tenants by the entireties, and one of them dies, then you clear title in the survivors with an affidavit of survivorship.

People often create joint tenancies in real estate in order to avoid probate. The joint tenants are often relatives. However, only married couples can own property as tenants by the entireties.

The way you tell what kind of tenancy you have is by looking at the deed. The deed will always have language that says something like “convey [or quitclaim] to John Doe and Jane Smith as  joint tenants [or] tenants by the entireties [or] tenants in common.”

If the deed does not say any of those three things, or if it says something else, then you should call a probate lawyer.

If the deed says tenants in common, then you cannot use an affidavit of survivorship. You will Continue reading

Divorced People with Minor Children Need a Will

If you are divorced and have minor children, you should make a will. For two main reasons. You need to appoint someone to handle the money you leave your children. You also need to pick  someone to take care of kids, if you and your ex both die.

Who Takes Care of Your Children’s Inheritance?

If you die without a will, the Court will give your children’s inheritance to their guardian. This is probably your ex. However, there are many reasons why you might not want your hard earned money to be given to your ex.

Your ex might not be good with money. They might have a drinking, drug and/or gambling problem. Your ex might spend that money on a fancy car to haul your kids around, instead of saving it to buy a car for the kids’ themselves.

The problem is that once the Court gives the inheritance to your ex, no one will be there to make sure that the money will be spent on your kids.

What if your ex can’t take care of your kids? Your ex could be in prison or rehab. He or she could be suffering from a physical or mental disability. In such a case the Court, would give the money Continue reading

Who needs a will anyway?

More than half of all adult Americans do not have a Will.  Why? Well, about a third of men feel like they do not need a will, while  one in four women blame costs for not making a will.

In this post I will suggest a few groups of people that really should consider a will.

What if I don’t have a will?

When you die without a will, that is intestate, then State laws will determine who gets your things.  If you are married, most States’ laws will give all your assets to your wife if you have no children.  If you do have children, then your things will get split between your wife and your children in varying proportions, depending on who is your children’s mother.  If you are not married and have no children, then your stuff will go to your parents, or your brothers or sisters, or other relations.

So, if you do not like what will happen to your stuff without a will, then you should make one.

Here is a list of people who probably need a will

Married couples with little kids should have wills

Many young married couples with young children, think that they do not need a will because Continue reading