How can I collect against a debtor if they died and there are no assets in their estate?
Question Details: I have a judgment against a debtor who has now died. There are now no assets in the estate because everything he owns is held by middle-men. Is there a way to "contest" the fact that there are no assets in the estate?
You could file a claim against the estate--i.e. sue the estate for the deceased's debt. But if there are truly no assets--everything is owned by others--then you will not recover anything. You'd have to show that the assets "held by middle-men" are not in fact held by them--that they were actually owned by the deceased when he died. You'd also have to show that if there were any liens, mortgages, security interests, etc. on those assets (e.g. on any real estate with a mortgage; any cars that were financed; etc.), that those liens, etc. were fraudulent, since if they were valid, they would take precedence over your claim.
In short, while in theory you could contest this, since as the person suing (plaintiff) the "burden of proof" (obligation to prove your case) would be on you, and proving the true ownership of assets or disproving validity of liens, etc. on them could be very difficult, you could spend a great deal of time, effort and (if you hire a lawyer) money on a difficult case and end up getting nothing. Not all debts an be collected on.