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Liens are commonly placed against real property, like homes and cars. For instance, if a car owner takes out a loan to buy the vehicle, his lender is the lien holder. The concept of a lien also applies if you win a judgment in court. The winner can file to place a lien on the defendant's assets, including his checking account if you have that information.

File your claim against the other person in court. You need an official judgment from a judge in order to place a lien on a checking account.

Allow the defendant ample time to pay the judgment on his own. Ask a court clerk how long you should wait before assuming that the debt will not be paid and filing for a lien.

Bring your court paperwork (including proof of the judgment in the matter) along with the defendant's checking account information back to the courthouse and ask the court Sheriff to file a writ of garnishment and place a lien on his account based on the judgment.

Wait for word from the court Sheriff via mail that the lien was placed on the account. The courts must wait for confirmation from the bank. While there's no guarantee that funds will be available to pay the judgment, a lien will seize or freeze the account and you might be able to receive your funds whenever the person makes a deposit.


  • Keep in mind that you need the person's checking account information in order to file a lien against the account. If you don't have this information, you'll probably have to hire a lawyer to discover the other person's other assets (like a home or car) and place a lien against those instead.


  • Do not employ illegal means of getting the person's checking account information, such as searching through his private belongings, or you could end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit.

    This is not legal advice—consult with a lawyer for the exact process and laws in your state regarding liens.