DEFINITION of 'Writ of Attachment'

A form of prejudgment process in which a court orders the attachment or seizure of property specifically described in the writ. The property is seized and maintained in the custody of a designated official, who is usually a U.S. Marshal or law enforcement officer, under court supervision.

BREAKING DOWN 'Writ of Attachment'

A writ of attachment is generally used to freeze assets of a defendant pending the outcome of a legal action. That is, the plaintiff obtains a contingent lien on the defendant's assets that can be exercised should the plaintiff be successful in obtaining a judgment against the defendant. There are a number of different types of attachment, including garnishment, replevin and sequestration.

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