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Writ of Execution


A writ of execution is a process issued by the court directing the U.S. Marshal to enforce and satisfy a judgment for payment of money. (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 69).

Territorial Limits

The writ is normally limited to execution within the state in which the district court is held unless extended by federal statute, rule, or court order.

Issued By

The writ is issued by the Clerk of the U.S. District or Bankruptcy Court under seal of the court.

Served By

The writ is served by the U.S. Marshal or other person, presumably a law enforcement officer, specially appointed by the court pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4.1(a).

Manner of Service

The writ is served according to the instructions contained within the writ and pursuant to state law, which generally governs procedures for levy. The judgment creditor may be required to provide an indemnity bond and an advance deposit to cover the U.S. Marshal's estimated out-of-pocket expenses. The judgment creditor should accompany the U.S. Marshal in executing the writ so that he or she may answer any questions that may arise during execution.

Custody of Seized Property

Generally, the U.S. Marshal will maintain custody of the attached property, under court supervision. Alternatively, the judgment creditor may be named substitute custodian for the U.S. Marshal and maintain direct responsibility for custody of the attached property, either by court order or by written agreement with the U.S. Marshal. If the requesting party has arranged for moving or storage of the property, he or she must provide the U.S. Marshal with written proof that storage fees have been paid and that adequate insurance against loss or damage has been obtained, as evidenced by an insurance certificate.

In addition, if the requesting party is named substitute custodian, he or she must provide the U.S. Marshal with a signed statement holding the U.S. Marshal harmless for any damages incurred as a result of the seizure while the property is in his or her custody. The U.S. Marshal is responsible for advertising and selling the seized property.

Till Tap

A till tap consists of the direct seizure of money from the cash register of a particular business by the U.S. Marshal pursuant to a writ of execution. The propriety of executing a till tap depends on applicable state law.


The person effecting service will make proof of service by recording the action taken pursuant to the instructions contained within the writ and by including any answer of attachment and/or inventory. If money is collected, the return must specify how the funds were applied.

Note: The information related to the service of court process that is contained on this web site is general information and not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive explanation or depiction of Federal rules of procedures for the service of process. Readers are directed to the Federal Rules of Criminal and Civil Procedure; personal legal counsel; the United States Code, Titles 18 and 28; their local U.S. Attorney's Office and District Court for specific, authoritative guidance.