Writs of Execution are orders issued by district court directing the sheriff to satisfy a judgment. They must be directed to the Sheriff of the county in which the assets to satisfy the judgment are located and they may be for personal or real property. For more information research Minnesota Statutes Chapter 550, which applies to executions.
The Writ of Execution document is valid for 180 days after the date of issue. The judgment on which it is based is usually good for 10 years, and can be renewed by additional court action. It is the responsibility of the judgment creditor to locate assets belonging to the judgment debtor which can be levied upon (seized) to satisfy the judgment. The most common procedures are wage levies and financial institution levies. For further information regarding other types of levies, see below.
If a creditor wants the Sheriffs Office to conduct a wage levy, it is the creditor's responsibility to provide:
A Writ of Execution directed to the Sheriff of the county in which the debtor works.
The judgment creditor or the creditor's attorney must endorse this writ.
The creditor must provide the Sheriff's Office with a deposit of $70 which will be applied to the cost of executing the writ.
By law, the creditor must also provide the Sheriff's Office with a check for $15 made payable to the debtor's employer. This check will be given to the employer when the wage levy is served.
In computing the amount to be collected, the Sheriff's Office will include the amount of the judgment, the interest accruing at the rate indicated on the writ, and any additional costs that have been added by the Court Administrator. The Sheriff's Office will also add the approved 5% commission on the above total, plus Sheriff's Office service fees.
If the judgment is totally satisfied, the creditor will receive the judgment amount, interest, $15 employer's fee and the $70 deposit.
If the judgment is only partially satisfied, the Sheriff's commission on the amount collected and the service fees will be deducted from the amount collected.
If for some reason no money is collected, the Sheriff's service fees will be deducted from the $70 deposit.
The creditor is also required to send an exemption notice to the debtor at least 13 days prior to commencing the levy if service is by mail, or 10 days if it is personally delivered. The creditor will need to indicate on the levy service sheet the date notice was given/sent to the debtor.
Wage levies are conducted for a 70 day period, after which the employer will send a check to the Sheriff's Office. If the check is insufficient to satisfy the judgment, the Sheriff's Office will conduct a second 70 day levy. Following the second levy, all money collected will be processed and a check issued to the creditor. If it is not enough to satisfy the judgment, the creditor must obtain a new Writ of Execution and request the Sheriff to continue the levy.
Financial Institution Levies
A levy at a financial institution requires a $70 deposit. The creditor must also provide the Sheriff with a $15 check made payable to the financial institution. The name on the account must be the same as the name of the judgment debtor on the Writ of Execution or the financial institution will not honor it. It is possible to levy on a joint account.
If the debtor is not a corporation or business, the creditor must provide the Sheriff with two copies of a completed levy exemption notice to be given to the financial institution when the levy is served.
It is possible to levy on other items, including vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, recreational vehicles, etc. Deposit amounts required to cover seizure and storage costs vary depending upon the action requested by the judgment creditor, so please contact the Sheriff's Office for a deposit amount prior to planning this type of levy.
It is also recommended that you read Minnesota Statutes Chapter 550 for more information, particularly related to exemptions to levy. Sheriff's Office staff can discuss a individual situations with you, but you are advised to consult an attorney if you have legal questions.
Non-homestead real property may also be levied upon and sold. This is a complex procedure and should be discussed with an attorney.
There is a 5% commission fee on all proceeds collected after the Sheriff's Office has taken action towards satisfying the debt.