Safeguarding the Financial Future of a Vietnam Veteran's Widow

A Letter from Texas Legal Services Center Client: Miguel

Texas Legal Services Center client, Miguel, with his family. 

My mother's joint bank account was wrongfully garnished by a private creditor in an amount of just under twenty-two thousand dollars, just two weeks after my father passed away. The bank account contained my father's VA and SSI benefits (he was a Veteran of the Vietnam War). It was already a very stressful period for my family with my father recently passing and it was made even more stressful with the garnishment.

After weeks of many letters and phone calls to the bank, the creditor, the creditor's attorney, the bank’s attorney, the courts and other potential attorneys, we felt helpless and at a point where it seemed nothing was getting resolved for us. The attorneys we contacted for assistance were either non-responsive or wanted a large retainer fee and percentage of the returned dollars in order to help us. It truly felt as if the cards were totally stacked against us.

After finding Texas Legal Services Center online and speaking with an intake coordinator, we were put in contact with a staff attorney named William Ritter. Mr. Ritter analyzed my mother's case, assisted her with the necessary paperwork and reached out to the attorneys in an attempt to resolve out of court. When that didn't happen, he had a court date in the Bexar County Courts so that our case could be heard. After two court dates our motion to dissolve the garnishment was granted and the funds were subsequently returned to my mother.

Mr. Ritter handled my mother's case for about a month and a half. As soon as he took it over we felt like the situation was moving in the right direction — we felt as if finally, someone was taking a stand for my mother's rights. I honestly wasn't expecting Mr. Ritter and the TLSC Veterans Legal Assistance Project to take the case. I am so glad that I made that phone call on behalf of my mother. From the moment we first spoke with Mr. Ritter to the date the garnishment was resolved, every communication with him by phone, email or in person was empathetic and polite and in court he was very assertive and confident with our arguments. Mr. Ritter always kept us informed as to the status of the case and anything he needed from us to move the case forward. Even after the case was closed, Mr. Ritter has been in communication with us to ensure my mother received payment and assistance with transfer on death deeds.

I want to personally thank both Mr. Ritter and Texas Legal Services Center for helping my mother, a widow of a Texas Vet on a fixed income, with her case and also want to extend our appreciation for the service you provide to all Texas Vets, their families, and senior citizens. We are truly appreciative and in your debt.

Respectfully, 

Miguel

Our Veterans Legal Assistance Project offers legal assistance at no charge to low-income veterans, their spouses, their dependents, and surviving spouses of deceased veterans. 

Our attorneys address common civil legal questions that many veterans face — including military benefits, federal/state public benefits, disability benefits, employment, and bankruptcy. We also provide consumer protection from creditors and creditor abuses such as predatory lending, deceptive trade practices, and debt collection violation.

The Veterans Legal Assistance Project is one of many Texas Legal Services Center Programs offering free legal aid to underserved Texans across the state. To learn more about the type of work we do, who we help, and some of our specialized programs, click here

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