If a client or customer has failed to repay a secured debt, and you need to make a legal claim for the collateral, you will be filing a UCC-1, also known as a Financing Statement. This is a standard business form that serves as a public notice of your claim and establishes a lien, which can be enforced by the courts. The procedure for completing a UCC-1 is easy and straightforward; the laws of your state and local civil court system lay out the filing requirements.
Obtain a UCC-1 form from your own stock, download it from an online vendor or buy it from a business-supply store that stocks the forms. Certain states, such as California, will only accept a single UCC-1 format; contact the secretary of state or other appropriate agency to research this before your filing.
Complete the form with the required information, which includes the name and address of the debtor, the name and address of the creditor and a general description of the collateral pledged to secure the loan. UCC-1 forms typically have a box or blank space for you to fill in the details; you may also add additional pages to provide more information on the debt and the collateral.
File the UCC-1 with the secretary of state where you live (if you are an individual creditor) or the state of incorporation (if you are an incorporated business). If property such as land was pledged as collateral, you will need to file the UCC-1 with the county clerk or recorder.
Proceed with a claim to the property by filing a lien or motion for judgment in civil or circuit courts, according to state law. A lien will prevent the debtor from selling the property; a motion for judgment or similar filing will result in an enforceable order from the court, which you can then file with the sheriff's office to proceed with repossession.
Pay any required filing fees and ask for an acknowledgment copy from the office where the statement is filed.
Ensure that you are identifying the proper debtor and that the business entity is identified with a tax identification number if your contract was with a business and not an individual. If you name an individual and your contract was with a business (or vice versa), your statement will be unenforceable.
Founder/president of the innovative reference publisher The Archive LLC, Tom Streissguth has been a self-employed business owner, independent bookseller and freelance author in the school/library market. Holding a bachelor's degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers.