A Creditor Aware of the Existence and Location of the Debtor’s Personal Property can Request a Levying Officer of the County where the Property is Located to Seize and Sell the Property to Satisfy the Judgment Debt


The debtor may own an expensive motor vehicle or other valuable personal property. If the creditor is aware of the existence and location of the property, he/she can request the levying officer of the county where it is located to take and sell the property, and to pay enough of the proceeds of sale to satisfy the judgment debt and also pay the expenses of the levy of execution.

Property Subject to Security Interest

The debtor’s property may be subject to a security interest that is held by a third person (for example, a finance company that holds the “pink slip” on the debtor’s automobile). In that situation, the secured creditor (the finance company) must be paid in full before the levying officer can transfer clear title of the property to a purchaser at a sale. Therefore, if the property is subject to a security interest (as most motor vehicles are), the creditor should not levy execution unless he/she makes arrangements to pay off the secured creditor before the sale. If the secured creditor is not paid before the sale, the property will be returned to the debtor, but the costs of the levy will be charged against the fee deposit.

Property in the Debtors Possession

For property in the personal possession of the debtor (for example, a coin collection), the creditor can request the levying officer to levy execution on property in the debtor’s personal possession. If the debtor refuses to turn it over to the levying officer voluntarily, the creditor can file a motion requesting a turnover order. The turnover order will order the debtor to deliver the property to the levying officer. If the debtor refuses, he may be subject arrest. However, the creditor can levy execution only on the judgment debtor’s interest in the property. If there is a co-owner, his/her interest in the property cannot be reached. A person who claims an interest in the property on which the creditor has levied execution can file a “third person claim” to the property.

Exempt and Partially Exempt Property

Exempt property is property that the law protects from the claims of the debtor’s creditors. Many kinds of property cannot be reached because they are exempt from execution. Some property is only partially exempt from execution. For example, only a portion of a debtor’s wages is exempt, and only a portion of any paid-up life insurance is exempt. Only a portion of a debtor’s equity in his or her motor vehicles is exempt. While the debtor can keep the exempt portion, the creditor can always levy execution on the portion that is not exempt.

Non-Exempt Property

Examples of the debtor’s property that probably are not exempt from execution and on which the creditor can levy execution include, unimproved lots, vacation homes, rental units, stamp or coin collections, stocks and bonds, precious metals, and most financial investments.