Civil Lawsuits
Income Garnishment

What assets can be seized by a judgment?


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Any assets needed to satisfy the debt can be seized. The party must provide a receipt and track all proceeds. Anything obtained over and above what is needed to satisfy the judgment must be returned. If the judgment is for $5,000 and they seize items and sell them for $6,000, they must return the difference.

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All US states have a list of exemptions to protect real and personal property from a judgment creditor, these exemptions are usually the same as those allowed in bankruptcy, plus non bankruptcy federal exemptions are available in some cases.

All SS benefits, public assistance benefits and the majority of private pensions are exempt from creditor attachment.

Generally the most important exemption for most people will be that of the Homestead, which protects the primary residence from a forced sale by the judgment creditor, several states such as Texas have specific laws that do not allow the forced sale of a primary residence to satisfy a judgment.

There is also added protection for married couples living in states where marital property both real and personal can be held as Tenancy By The Entirety and only one spouse is the debtor.