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What types of attachment are there?

There are various ways to seize assets. Attachment measures can generally be divided into the two forms "attachment of claims" and "attachment of assets".

Editorial Team Germany | Jul 24, 2023 3 min

Examples of attachment of claims

Examples attachment of assets

  • Wage and salary attachment
  • Pocket attachment
  • Attachment of the pension or pension expectancy
  • Attachment of movable objects, such as jewellery and antiques
  • Attachment of rental income
  • Seizure of luxury goods

Attachment of claims 

If a debtor himself has open monetary claims against third parties, then an attachment of claims is possible. This includes, for example, the attachment of salaries or wages as well as the attachment of current pension claims.

With an attachment of debt, the creditor achieves that this money is no longer paid directly to the debtor by the third party, but instead directly to the creditor. This is why the third party is called a "third-party debtor". 

However, the debtor is left with a so-called lien-free amount with which he can secure his existence. In this way, outstanding claims of the creditor are to be settled in the shortest possible time without the debtor getting into existential distress. 

Attachment of wages or salaries 

The terms wage and salary attachment conceal a single enforcement measure. Based on an attachment and transfer order, the employer transfers the seizable portion of the income directly to the creditor each month. The debtor then only receives the part of the salary that is below the attachment exemption limit. The salary is seized until the underlying debt is repaid.

Attachment of pension 

Pensions are also seizable. The attachment of old-age pensions is similar to the attachment of salary payments: The unseizable part of the old-age pension remains the debtor's livelihood. Injury or maintenance pensions, on the other hand, are usually unseizable.

Future pension claims can also be seized. If the debtor reaches retirement age, the pension insurance institution transfers the seizable part of the pension directly to the attachment creditor. However, if the claim is settled before retirement age, the attachment is finished. The pension will then of course remain unaffected by the attachment.

Attachment of assets

In an attachment of assets, the bailiff seizes movable valuables. The bailiff may seize property at any place where the debtor's assets are located. An attachment of assets by the bailiff is possible at almost any time - under certain conditions even at night and on Sundays and public holidays.
The bailiff often seizes jewellery, vehicles, antiques and technical devices such as televisions and smartphones.
The bailiff usually takes seized items away immediately. However, he leaves some items on site and marks them with a lien seal. The lien seal is colloquially known as a "cuckoo" and triggers a so-called prohibition of disposal for the debtor: The debtor may not use the seized objects, sell them or move them to another location. 

As a rule, seized movable property is sold at public auction. The proceeds from the sale of the seized property are then used to settle the claim of the execution creditor. Immovable property such as real estate or land can be foreclosed or sequestrated. In receivership, a court appoints a receiver who takes over the management of the property instead of the owner. The creditor receives the proceeds from the property, such as rental or lease income. A forced mortgage can also be entered in the land register to secure a titled monetary claim.

Exchange attachment 

Some movable valuables are unseizable. These include certain household items and things that the debtor absolutely needs for the exercise of his profession.

With an exchange attachment, some of these things can still be seized. In this case, the seized valuable item is exchanged for a cheaper version. For example, a sports car would be replaced by a simple second-hand car, a brand new expensive television by a cheaper model.

Pocket attachment 

In a pocket attachment, the bailiff seizes movable property that the debtor carries in his pocket, in clothing or directly on his body. Typical examples are cash, valuable watches or electronics.

Our tip

By making additional voluntary payments from the seizure-free assets, you can pay off the claims more quickly at any time and thus accelerate the end of the execution.



Please understand that for reasons of readability we only use the grammatically masculine form when referring to persons. This always refers to people of any gender identity.