Seizure of Assets in France

Updated on Tuesday 14th May 2019

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Seizure of assets in France is part of the procedures of enforcement, commenced when a creditor has obtained a court order to recover his due amount from a debtor. The process refers to those activities carried out against the debtor’s will, namely the obligation to pay by means of attachment. Most commonly, this obligation is performed by attaching a certain amount of money, however, when this is not possible, the debtor can move forward to seizing other types of assets.

Individuals or companies that are dealing with debt collection in France can reach out to our team of specialists for complete information about the seizure of assets and the general enforcement process once they have a court order issued for this action. The assets can be seized both when the creditor has a locally issued court order and when the court order is a foreign one, provided that the debtor does own assets in France. In some cases, the enforcement measures can take place without a court order, when they are on an enforceable title. This can title can be an extract from an official conciliation report, a notarial act that included a clause for granting the authority to enforce or a title issued in the event of non-payment. One of our specialists can give you more information about the existing enforceable titles, according to the Civil Enforcement Proceedings Code.
 

What types of assets can be seized in France?


The assets and property of a debtor in France can be subject to enforcement to the amount of the debt that is due to the creditor. However, while the creditor can submit the enforcement claim against part or all of the debtor’s property, certain assets cannot be seized. The following list includes these types of assets:
  • Maintenance amounts: the sums needed by the debtor for maintenance purposes cannot be seized, meaning that a portion of his salary will always remain his.
  • Certain movable goods: these are those goods that are needed by the debtor for everyday life and for work purposes.
  • Special assets: included in this category are any types of assets can be mandatory for disabled of sick individuals.
  • Exceptions: some of the movable goods that are of daily use can be attached when they are of significant value; one of our agents who specialize in debt collection in France can give you more details.

The types of assets that can be sized during the enforcement process include savings placed in bank accounts, part of the wages, movable and immovable property apart from the aforementioned types, vehicles (automobiles, ships or aircraft), copyrights, securities, shares, and others.

The assets that can be seized to recover a debt in France will depend on the debt amount. 
 

What are some important issues to consider related to asset seizure in France?


Creditors claiming their debts in France should observe the aforementioned conditions for seizing assets, namely the fact that there are certain limitations on the collection of the debt, but also other issues related to the general enforcement procedure.

The seizure of assets will generally take place in two phases, with the first being the one in which the amounts of money and property are attached, as needed. After this phase, the debtor can no longer dispose of his assets, however, he remains the custodian of the assets. In the event in which he attempts to misappropriates the movable or immovable property during this time, he can be accused of committing an offense. 

Commonly seized assets in France are sums of money and these are immediately blocked into the account and are to be assigned to the attachment creditor.

When the debtor does not challenge the attachment, the creditor can then proceed to the second stage, which is to seize the actual assets and sell them in auctions.

Individuals interested in the seizure of assets in France should know that the process is subject to a statute of limitations – a certain amount of time during which the seizure can take place. Enforceable titles expire after ten years and the enforcement measures, the seizure of assets must take place before this time expires.

The seizure of assets is a limited procedure in the sense that it should only include the items necessary to recover the due debt and abuse is not permitted. Also, as previously states, the creditor may not attach items that are essential for the debtor.

Our debt collection lawyers in France can provide individuals with more information about the seizure of assets and the process of recovering debts, including when a foreign court order is issued for this purpose.

Contact us for more information and assistance for debt collection in France.

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