Writs of Execution

Writs of Execution are orders issued in 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. Minnesota Statutes 550 applies to executions. Writs of Execution are valid for 180 days after the day they are issued. It is the responsibility of the judgment creditor, not the Sheriff's Office, to locate assets belonging to the judgment debtor which can be levied upon (seized) to satisfy the judgment. The most common of these are wage and financial institution levies. It is not the duty of the Sheriff’s Office to find out what assets the judgment debtor has, this is the responsibility of the judgment creditor or attorney.

Wage Levies

If a creditor wants the Sheriff's 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 Writ must be endorsed by the judgment creditor or the creditor's attorney. The creditor must provide the Sheriff's Office with a deposit of $80 which will be applied to the cost of executing the Writ. The creditor, by law, 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 occurring at the rate indicated on the Writ, and any additional costs that have been added to the Writ by the Court Administrator.

The Sheriff's Office will also add a 6% commission on the above total, plus Sheriff's Office service fees. If the judgment is totally satisfied, the creditor will receive the judgment, interest, additional costs, and the $80 deposit. If the judgment is only partially satisfied, the Sheriff's Office commission on the amount collected. 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 $80 deposit.

The creditor is also required to mail an Execution Exemption Notice and Notice of Intent to Levy Wages to the debtor at least ten days prior to commencing the levy. The Sheriff's Office  will ask the creditor to indicate that the Exemption Notice has been given 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 2nd 70-day levy. Following the 2nd 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 from Court Administration and request the Sheriff's Office continue to levy. The Sheriff's Office must receive the original Writ of Execution in order to proceed with wage levies as well as specific instructions and information detailing the wage levy.

Financial Institution Levies

The $80 deposit is the same for a levy at a financial institution. 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 2 copies of a Levy Exemption Notice to be given to the financial Institution when the levy is served. The original Writ of Execution and specific instructions with information must be provided to the Sheriff prior to execution of a financial institution levy.

Other Types of Levies

It is possible to levy on other items, including vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, recreational vehicles, etc. Please read Minnesota Statutes 550 for more information. You are advised to consult with an attorney if you have legal questions. Non-homesteaded, real property may also be levied and sold. This is a complex procedure and should be discussed with an attorney.