What is a Writ?

In general terms, a writ is a form of written command in the name of a court or other legal authority to act, or abstain from acting, in some way. In the world of financial debt, a writ is issued by a court after a creditor gets a judgment against you for money owed.

There are two types of writs. First there is a writ of garnishment – a court order to seize property, wages and/or income. Typically it is served to your employer and garnishes a percentage of your wages, as outlined in the order, which the court turns over to the creditor, such as a financial institution or credit collection agency.

In issuing the writ, the court tries to leave you enough money to live on (though of course if you are in severe financial trouble, the loss of any income at all can lead to major difficulties). However, if you consult a licensed bankruptcy trustee, such as Doyle Salewski, and go through the bankruptcy or consumer proposal process, then the writ of garnishment can no longer be enforced.

The other type of writ, the writ of execution, allows for the seizure and sale of your property to satisfy the debt cited in the court judgment. Under this writ, a sheriff can seize property ranging from computers to cars.

In Ontario, things that a creditor can’t seize include one motor vehicle worth up t $6,600, $13,150 worth of household furnishings and appliances, up to $11,300 worth of tools of your trade, certain kinds of life insurance, and RRSP, RRIF and SPSP savings, barring money you contributed in the 12 months before a bankruptcy.

Under Ontario law, your principal residence is exempt from seizure if your equity in it is $10,000 or less. If your equity is over this amount, the the home could theoretically be taken from you (in practice this does not happen often).

If a writ has been issued against you, you need to seek the advice and services of a licensed bankruptcy trustee. Among the options they will discuss with you are filing for bankruptcy or a consumer proposal. Either one will provide immediate relief from most creditors and the legal actions they are taking against you. (There are some exceptions to this, such as money owed for child support.) In most cases, writs of execution are ended when you are discharged from a bankruptcy.

At Doyle Salewski, we can help you solve your debt and budgeting crises, using our proven expertise and experience to achieve financial freedom and peace of mind. Contact us today for a free consultation, either through our Ottawa headquarters, 613-237-5555, or our fully bilingual Gatineau office, 819-776-7777. Email: info@doylesalewski.ca.

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