A writ of execution will be delivered by the sheriff. Basically, it is a court order from the judge allowing the sheriff to take possession of any assets you may have on hand. Why is this happening to you? A writ of execution is filed after a judgment has been issued against you in favor of the plaintiff, such as a credit card company or other creditor.
Let us break down the entire process with an example:
Creditor X has filed a civil summons concerning a credit card account you have with them that you have been unable to make payments on for quite some time. They have sent you settlement offers, and now have hired an attorney to take you to court. You have been served when you receive the lawsuit. When you receive a lawsuit you should also respond: if anything, it will buy you some time. Then a hearing is set. It is up to you to attend this hearing; if you do not owe the debt in question this is when you would provide proof to the judge. However, if you choose to not attend the hearing, your case becomes a default judgment. In other words, due to your absence, the judge automatically awards the plaintiff, Creditor X, the right to pursue the funds owed. The next important piece of mail you will receive will be the motion to exempt property or designate exemptions it is also sometimes called a Notice of Right to Have Exemptions Designated. Again, it is imperative you respond to this! You usually have 20 days to do so. At this point, Creditor X has a judgment against you and is looking for retribution. Their lawyers will request a writ of execution from the judge. This is when the sheriff gets involved and makes an appearance at your door step.
What do I tell the sheriff?
First, you should always answer the door. Avoiding the sheriff may make your situation worse. You may ask the sheriff for more time to come up with the money owed or for time to file bankruptcy. It is not a guarantee that the sheriff will grant you an extension, but it is worth asking. If you tell the sheriff you are filing for bankruptcy then make sure you follow through because the sheriff will need a case number within a short time frame showing you have filed bankruptcy. Remember, filing for bankruptcy can be an extensive process and requires payment before you file a petition. An emergency bankruptcy is always a possibility but there are more fees associated. Hopefully, you have spoken to a bankruptcy attorney before this point. If you have not, you should call one, like us.
If you don’t file the bankruptcy or settle the lawsuit the Sheriff will have the ability to seize any non-exempt property and so they may use that property to sell at an auction to try to satisfy Creditor X’s judgment against you. You don’t want your property seized though, so be sure to act before this time comes. Not only do you lose property but you also have to deal with the embarrassment of having the Sheriff come to your door to take the property.