Orders to preserve value of assets come up in situations involving businesses that are being run into the ground or real property that’s not being taken care of. Let’s say you’re a commercial lender who lent money on a piece of real property (you may or may not have security against it), but the debtor is letting the property go to waste. You could ask the court to appoint a third-party receiver (sometimes this person will be an attorney). By court order, the receiver is given the right to take over the business or, more often, they’re given the right to control certain parts of the business or manage it so it doesn’t fall into disrepair. If a business owner was just siphoning off the assets, you could have a receiver appointed to prevent that from happening, which would preserve the assets of the business for the creditors.

Levying Under A Writ Of Execution

A writ of execution is the base document that, once issued, you use to perform a levy. If you’re doing a bank levy, for example, you will serve the writ (alongside written instructions we’ve prepared as the attorneys) to the Orange County sheriff or the LA sheriff (wherever the bank is located) or to a registered process server. They are to go to the bank and serve the writ on the bank. The writ is a notice of levy to make the bank aware that they need to freeze any and all accounts they have in the name of the judgment debtor as of that day. If there is $10,000 in the account, the bank is supposed to freeze it and within ten days pay it over via check to the sheriff with a written report of how much was in the account. Then, the sheriff will take 30 days or so to send us the money. The bank account may not have enough to pay the whole judgment, so when there’s not enough, we can do multiple bank levies. We could do a bank levy a day if we wanted.

That’s just one example of a levy; it could be a levy on real property, or it could be a wage garnishment.

What Does The Client Need To Know When It Comes To The Steps Of The Levy Process?

Other than the fact that it’s a legal process, clients just need to know that it’s not time-consuming but it can still take a while. We can’t make the sheriff’s office go faster than they usually go, and some sheriff’s offices are much slower than others. We know who we’re dealing with, so we try to set realistic expectations for our client by letting them know how much time we think it’ll take.

How Might A Writ Of Execution Be Levied On Property?

We can levy anything physical in nature (e.g., a boat or a car) under a writ of execution. When you levy real property, such as someone’s residence or an office building owned by a business, you obviously can’t take it with you since it’s stuck to the ground, so it has to be sold. Typically, there will be a sheriff sale and then you get the proceeds (whatever’s left over after the mortgages and any liens against the property are paid), assuming there are no exemptions. A levy on real property can become complicated, but it can be done. When we threaten to sell a real property, it often forces a settlement and the debtor just pays up rather than lose their property.

We can also do a wage garnishment, a bank levy, or an accounts receivable garnishment. In an accounts receivable garnishment, we send the writ of execution to the sheriff, who gives instructions to a customer or someone else who owes money to the debtor that they are to pay the sheriff (who then pays us) instead of paying the debtor. That’s a beautiful thing when it happens. We just have to know who the customers are, and the debtor has to owe us a certain amount of money, perhaps $20,000, before it makes sense to do something like that.

Age Service On Judgment Debtor Required

Age service is just part of the procedure when something like a bank levy happens. The sheriff will serve a copy of the notice of levy (whatever they served on the bank) on the account holder. By the time the account holder sees the notice, the bank levy has already happened, which is a good thing, so they don’t have time to run and take any money out of the account.

Similar to due process, they have the right to contest it; that’s why the sheriff will hold the money for a period of time to see if the other side is going to fight it somehow. In most cases, there’s not much you can do if there’s a judgment against you and they take money out of your bank account, unless you’re an individual and it’s your Social Security, a pension, or something else that’s exempt from levy. Businesses don’t really have any exempt assets, so it’s pretty rare that we aren’t allowed to keep the money that we levy.

For more information on Debt Collections in California, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (714) 594-6322 today.

Art Matthews

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