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Equitable Liens

Collecting a money judgment is often very difficult, particularly if the judgment debtor is hiding assets, has little/few  assets or is not covered by insurance. In fact, many attorneys are unwilling to handle cases when the prospect of a difficult to collect judgment becomes apparent. 

There are some legal theories and avenues which aid in the collection of money judgments. An equitable lien on property is one such theory. Equity allows a lien to be placed on the proceeds of the sale of property on which an obligation is owed and where the law does not provide an adequate remedy and justice would suffer without equitable relief. Ethrdige v. TierOne Bank, 226 S.W.3d 127, 133 (Mo. 2007). The elements required to established an equitable lien are (1) a duty or an obligation owing by one person to another; (2) a res (e.g., item of property) to which that obligation “fastens,” which can be identified with reasonable certainty; and (3) an intent, express or implied, that the property serve as security for the payment of the debt or obligation. Id. at 134. 

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