A writ of execution in Texas does permit you to seize your judgment debtor’s non-exempt property and sell it with the proceeds being applied to satisfy your judgment. The property you can confiscate encompasses any non-exempt personal property. Personal property is any kind of movable assets owned by the debtor. However, personal property doesn’t consist of money or investments. And, naturally, personal property does not include real-estate.
Taking Possession of Personal Property
The way in which the sheriff levies on your judgment debtor’s interest in personal property depends on the precise nature of the debtor’s interest in the property. More specifically, it is dependent on whether the judgment debtor is entitled to actual possession of the property.
If the judgment debtor is entitled to actual possession of the property and in fact has possession, the sheriff levies on the property by just taking possession of it. If, on the other hand, the debtor’s interest in the property is a non-possessory interest, the sheriff must provide notice to the person who is entitled to possession of the property (Tex. R. Civ. P. 639). But, the fact that the debtor is not entitled to possession of the property does not stop you from foreclosing on his interest in that property.
Selling Personal Property to Pay Your Judgment
After the sheriff has taken possession of your judgment debtor’s property under a writ of execution, the process starts for the auction of that property. Texas law allows seized personal property to be sold at the location where it was seized, on the steps of the courthouse in the county where the property is found or at another site if that location is more convenient for showing the property to purchasers because of the nature of the property itself.
Before having the sale, the sheriff must post a notice of the sale at the courthouse door and in the place where the sale is to happen (Tex. R. Civ. P. 649). The notice must be posted for 10 successive days immediately prior to the sale.
If the judgment debtor only has an interest in the property but not the right of possession of the property, the property being sold will not have to be displayed at the sale. But, if the judgment debtor has the right of sole possession of the property in question, it can’t be sold without being presented for viewing by those attending the sale.
As soon as the sheriff sells the judgment debtor’s personal property to the highest bidder, he releases possession of that property to the winner. If the property sold wasn’t property to which the debtor had the right of sole possession, the sheriff presents the winner a bill of sale showing that the winner now has the same interest as previously held by the judgment debtor. Obviously, the money paid by the winning bidder are given to you to apply to the outstanding balance of your judgment.
Harvey L. Cox has been practicing law in Texas since 1990. He has worked extensively in the areas of commercial and consumer collections, consumer protection, IRS problem solving, asset protection planning, estate planning, and child advocacy.
He now has a limited practice and devotes his time to teaching and writing with a desire to help consumers and small businesses find answers to their everyday legal and business questions.