A writ of execution is an order granted by a court in an attempt to satisfy a judgment obtained by a plaintiff.
When issuing a writ of execution, a court typically will order a sheriff or other similar official to levy property owned by a judgment debtor. Such property may be sold in a sheriff's sale, and the proceeds given to the plaintiff in partial or full satisfaction of the judgment. It is generally considered preferable for the sheriff simply to confiscate money from the defendant's bank account. If the judgment debtor owns real property, the judgment creditor can record the execution to "freeze" the title until the execution is satisfied.
In the United States, not all assets are subject to execution. For example, social security income that resides in a bank account is exempt from a levy on a debtor's bank account. Many states also protect an Individual Retirement Account from execution, as well as unemployment income but the amount that is exempt may be limited.
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