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Seizure of Assets in Estonia

Seizure of Assets in Estonia

A manner in which a creditor can collect the debt is by seizure of assets in Estonia. This is possible when an enforcement order was issued and the creditor may move forward with this process. Once a court decision is enforced, the debtor will be forced to pay the due debt and this can mean allowing the creditor to collect assets that will cumulate to the debt amount. However, the seizure of property and assets are subject to regulations and a bailiff in Estonia handles the enforcement procedures.
In general, the claim for payment is made on the money the debtor possesses, followed by securities, then other movables and finally immovable property. For the latter, the creditor will favor the property that is owned solely by the debtor and not the property jointly owned with a spouse (if any).
Our team of agents who specialize in debt collection in Estonia answer some of the questions asked both by the debtor and the creditor with respect to collecting assets for the purpose of settling a debt.
Working with a team specialized in debt collection can be useful in most cases. We recommend reaching out to our specialists before the commencement of the enforcement procedure.

What types of assets can be seized in Estonia?

Payment claims can be made for movable and immovable property alike, therefore, the creditor may claim the seizure or property as well as assets, as the case may be. The claim can be submitted for the following:

  • Movable property:  consumable and non-consumable personal property that can later be auctioned.
  • Immovable property: the property and its accessories are recorded and the debtor can no longer dispose of it.
  • The debtor’s account: an account can be seized to the extent that this is indicated in the seizure instrument.
  • Shares of a private limited company: securities owned in Estonian private limited companies may be seized.

For movable property, the bailiff will sell the seized assets in a public electronic or oral auction. The amount remaining after the sale of the goods (after the claims of the creditor are satisfied) is used to pay the enforcement costs. If any other amounts remain, they are returned to the debtor. When a claim for immovable property is made, it will also apply to the property that it is subject to a mortgage. 
The role of a bailiff is important for the enforcement of the judgment and for the seizure of assets. In general, he will be involved in the following issues: informing the debtor of the procedure and informing both parties of their rights, seizing the property, receiving the money from the debtor and delivering it to the claimant, keeping the record of the receipts and other administrative tasks. The bailiff will determine the order in which the property is seized. He will also be the one to evaluate the seized assets and determine ownership. In some cases, he will also decide what assets are not subject to seizure and will remain at the disposal of the debtor.

What are the limitations on the seizure of assets?

Enforcement measures have a statute of limitations of ten years after the court judgment was entered into force. When the enforcement procedures, and the seizure of assets, were initiated before the death of the debtor, they will continue after his death unless otherwise specified by law.  Some basic items are subject to an exemption, for example, household goods, appliances, and furniture. The said exemption is usually limited to a certain amount and in some situations, the debtor is allowed to choose the assets that are not to be seized and prepare an inventory for them. A prohibition on excessive seizure can apply in some cases. 
One of our debt collection lawyers in Estonia can give you more information about the limitations that can apply to your particular case.

Can the seizure of assets be appealed?

A complaint against the bailiff may be filed by the debtor with respect to a decision made by the said bailiff. The complaint cannot be filed in court unless it was first filed with the bailiff. The debtor can also file an action against the claimant if the enforcement instrument for compulsory enforcement is inadmissible.
Avoiding collection is considered fraud. This can occur when the debtor attempts to sell the property (for low value) or becoming bankrupt shortly after the judgment is issued. The creditor may sue for fraud when there are suspicions that a debtor has intentionally disposed of his assets before the court order for enforcement was issued.
The seizure of assets is a process that can be handled with the help of our agents specialized in debt collection in EstoniaContact us for more information about the services we provide.