Protecting Your Assets

A family is missing about $630,000 and even though Judge Michael Skinner ordered Charles Zwick to repay the money, there's a good chance the family won't see any of it, in part because the money wasn't insured or 'bonded' in the first place.

When a judge bonds assets, it's like an insurance plan. Because a judge didn't bond the assets in these cases, the family's attorney Phil Vilella said recovering the money is going to be very difficult.

Judge skinner tells news ten he can't comment on the case, and directed all questions to Mike Kutas, the Eaton County circuit and probate courts administrator.

"If the judge sees that there are significant assets that need protection, the judge can issue a bond," Kutas said.

So why didn't Judge Skinner bond all the money?

"The case was initiated under an old statute which did not require bonding in every instance," Kutas said. "And some assets were never disclosed to the court."

In 2001, the state laws became much more strict in terms of the situations were bonds apply, so if you filed assets before 2001, it might be a good idea to take a second look.

Kutas said if you do have a family guardian, it's imperative you make sure the assets reported to the court are completely accurate, and inquire about insuring those assets.

Charles Zwick remains behind bars at the Eaton County Jail this evening on a contempt of court charge, his attorney, John Deming, declined to comment.