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Removing a Freeze on a Bank Account in New York

Posted by Arnold A. Arpino | Feb 04, 2017 | 0 Comments

It is possible that a creditor may freeze your bank account after they have received a Court judgment. A creditor does not have to warn you before placing a freeze on your account, and often times you will not know about a freeze until attempting to use your debit card.  Our office can help you remove the freeze on your bank account. If a creditor has frozen your bank account, they need to follow certain procedures.  

If the procedures below are not followed; the freeze on your bank account might be void or there could be a violation of your due process rights. (See Distressed Holdings, LLC v Ehrler, 976 NYS2d 517 [2d Dept 2013]) Specifically, subdivision (b)(3) of New York Civil Practice Law and Rules § 5222–a provides that “[w]ithin two business days after receipt of the restraining notice or execution, exemption notice and exemption claim forms, the banking institution shall serve upon the judgment debtor the copy of the restraining notice, the exemption notice and two exemption claim forms.”  

However, New York banks do not always comply with the law as subdivision (b)(3) provides that the inadvertent failure of a depository institution to provide the required notice to the judgment debtor shall not give rise to liability on the part of the depository institution (see CPLR 5222–a[b][3] ). The exemption notice advises the judgment debtor that his or her bank account has been restrained or frozen (see CPLR 5222–a[b][4] ).

The exemption notice also advises the judgment debtor that certain funds, which may be on deposit in the restrained bank account, are exempt from restraint and cannot be taken by the judgment creditor to satisfy the judgment (see CPLR 5222–a[b] [4] ). These funds include, among other things, social security benefits, social security disability benefits, and income earned in the last 60 days (90% of which is exempt) (see CPLR 5222–a[b][4]; Matter of North Shore Univ. Hosp. at Plainview  v. Citibank Legal Serv. Intake Unit, 25 Misc.3d 655, 657–658, 883 N.Y.S.2d 898 [Nassau Dist. Ct. 2009] ). 

In addition, the exemption notice, inter alia, “advises the judgment debtor that to claim the exemption, the judgment debtor should complete the exemption claim form and deliver or mail it to the bank in which the restrained account is maintained and the judgment creditor or the judgment creditor's attorney within 20 days of the postmark date on the envelope holding the exemption notice” (Matter of North Shore Univ. Hosp. at Plainview v. Citibank Legal Serv. Intake Unit, 25 Misc.3d at 658, 883 N.Y.S.2d 898; see CPLR 5222–a[b][4][a], [b] ). If your bank account has been frozen, contact our office immediately for a free consultation to determine if we can assist you. 

About the Author

Arnold A. Arpino

Arnold practices Creditor's Rights & Collections, Health Law, Real Estate, & Estate Planning.

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Arnold A. Arpino & Associates, P.C., is a full service law firm that represents individuals and businesses in a variety of different practice areas. Our firm regularly appears in the Courts throughout Long Island, New York City, and the Hudson Valley.

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