I saw on the Texas Comptroller’s website that a former client is owed $1,200 by the state. He also owes me about $3,000 for work I did for him several years ago. Can I force him to sign over the money to me? — David, Greenville
Possibly. It depends on whether you still have a right to sue him, which would in turn depend on what type of work you performed, whether there was a valid contract, and how long ago he should have paid you. You should also know that if you get him to “sign over” the money to you, the Comptroller will almost certainly not pay you the proceeds directly.
The Comptroller’s office had a long-standing policy of not making direct payments to “assignees, transferees or purchasers of unclaimed property.” The Comptroller’s office recently sought advice from the Texas Attorney General about this issue. The Attorney General’s office writes public opinions in response to legal questions from various state and local officials. In this case, the Attorney General responded to the Comptroller’s office and stated that the Texas Property Code prohibited the Comptroller “from paying assignees or any other type of purchaser of unclaimed property or unclaimed property rights.”
The Attorney General also stated that “assignee” would probably include “an individual who has purchased for value the unclaimed property of another.” The Attorney General pointed out that word “assignee” was not defined in the Property Code, and suggested that a court would likely apply the plain meaning of the word.
If you have a brief legal question on any topic, please forward it to Daniel@smrt-law.com.
Daniel Ray is a Greenville, Texas attorney licensed in all Texas courts. His firm, Scott, Money, Ray & Thomas, PLLC, represents the City of Greenville, Hunt County, and many other public and private North Texas entities. His practice emphasis is civil litigation, wills and trusts and real estate.
This article is intended for entertainment and educational purposes as well as to give the reader general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By reading this article you agree that you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the author or publisher. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your area.