Florida Bank Garnishment Lawyer
Bank Garnishment as a Business Collection Tool
Bank garnishment can be an extremely effective judgment collection tool. A bank garnishment removes funds from the debtor’s bank accounts and delivers the funds to the creditor. If a garnishment is made on an account containing enough money to satisfy the judgment, the creditor can receive full payment by this one collection method alone. Even if no large bank accounts can be found, bank garnishment often disrupts the debtor’s life and/or business, and acts as a major “wake up call” for the debtor. The effectiveness of bank garnishment hinges on whether the creditor can locate the debtor’s accounts.
Need Help Executing a Bank Garnishment in Florida?
If you have questions regarding bank garnishments in Florida, please contact us at (888) 288-1881. We are happy to discuss your Florida debt collection matter. Our firm helps creditors quickly find and levy on debtors’ bank accounts.
Marcadis Singer, PA is dedicated to collecting large debts from businesses and individuals throughout Florida. We understand that collecting is extremely important to our clients, and we take our responsibility very seriously. Please contact us for a complimentary analysis of your judgment and collection options.
How to Collect Judgments via Bank Garnishment
- To conduct a bank garnishment, the creditor must first obtain a writ of execution from the court. See Florida Statute § 55.208. A separate writ of execution is required for each county in which a levy will take place.
- After the writ of execution has been obtained, the creditor must deliver the original writ of execution to the sheriff’s department for the subject county.
- Each county’s sheriff’s department has its own procedures for bank levies, but most allow bank levies to be conducted by registered process servers. If so, the creditor can effectuate the bank levy by, first, delivering the original writ of execution to the sheriff’s department, along with instructions detailing the banks to be visited, and second, instructing the process server as to which financial institutions to serve.
- Next, the process server will serve a copy of the writ of execution on each of the banks, along with a Notice of Levy and Memorandum of Garnishee. A separate Notice of Levy and Memorandum of Garnishee is also sent to the debtor, informing him that the garnishment has taken place.
- Immediately upon receipt of the levy documents, the bank is required to freeze all funds in the debtor’s accounts (up to the full amount of the judgment).
- Within 10 days of receipt of the Notice of Levy, the bank will complete the Memorandum of Garnishee (indicating how much money was obtained) and return it to the sheriff. The sheriff will then inform the creditor as to the amount of funds, if any, obtained.
- Finally, the bank delivers the funds to the sheriff, who then forwards the money to the creditor.
When to Use a Bank Garnishment to Collect a Judgment
Creditors should execute bank garnishments immediately if the creditor knows the banks at which the debtor maintains accounts. If the debtor has made payments to the creditor in the recent past, the bank from which such payments were made is often the best place to start. If no accounts are known, the creditor can attempt to learn of the debtor’s accounts by obtaining an asset search and/or conducting a judgment debtor examination. With respect to asset searches, certain law firms (including our firm) have negotiated much-reduced rates with excellent asset search companies.
Common Bank Garnishment Challenges
In addition to potential difficulty identifying the debtor’s bank accounts, an additional challenge stems from the requirement to obtain a separate writ of execution in each county in which a levy will be effectuated. Historically, bank garnishments served to sweep only the funds located at the specific branch of the bank served with the levy (leaving the debtor’s accounts at other branches untouched). As a result, if a creditor sought to levy on three bank branches located in three different counties, the creditor was required to obtain multiple writs of execution (one for each county), communicate with multiple sheriff’s departments, and engage multiple process servers.
Important additional details re bank garnishments:
- Writs of execution are valid for only 180 days.
- Process server fees can be expensive, particularly if the creditor attempts the “blanket” bank levy strategy described above. However, certain law firms (including our firm) have negotiated much-reduced prices with excellent process servers.
- Alternatively, the creditor can instruct the sheriff’s department to effectuate the levy (i.e., the sheriff will serve the banks directly, without the use of a process server).
Contact Marcadis Singer, PA Today for a Judgment Review
Virtually every creditor is well served to execute bank garnishments quickly. Please contact us to discuss how we can identify and levy on your debtor’s bank accounts. In most cases we can execute bank levies in less than one week from engagement.
Marcadis Singer, PA prides itself on doing everything needed to maximize the likelihood of collecting our clients’ judgments. We are happy to speak with you. Feel free to contact us at (888) 288-1881 for an initial review of your judgment and collection options.