Writ Of Attachment


In addition to serving legal documents, the Norfolk County Sheriff's Office Civil Process Division enforces court ordered Writs of Attachment and Executions on Money Judgments issued by the court. With an Execution on Money Judgment, the court has decided the plaintiff is due monies by the defendant and the Execution allows the attorney/plaintiff to ask the Norfolk County Sheriff's Office to enforce the Execution.

Writ of Attachments are prejudgment remedies utilized to secure payment of a debt before the conclusion of the action. Attachments are governed by GL. Ch. 223 and Rule 4.1 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure. The most common type of attachment enforced by the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office is an attachment against real estate.

Real Estate

Massachusetts General Law enables the Sheriffs’ Office to attach real property through Writs of attachment issued by Federal or Massachusetts Courts. These attachments are made by a Deputy Sheriff who records the attachment at the Registry of deeds.

Writs of attachment are valid for 30 days beginning on the date they were issued by the court. In order for an attachment to be recorded at the Registry of Deeds it must be mailed or delivered to the Sheriff’s Office in advance of this deadline. Notice of the attachment must be given to the defendant within sixty days after the commencement of the action. Ch 223 Section 115A

In order to have the Sheriff’s Office record an attachment on real property please mail or deliver the original Writ of Attachment along with a cover letter outlining how you would like the attachment to be made to the Norfolk County Sheriff's Office Civil Process Division.

You must indicate whether the Writ should be recorded on the Unregistered or Registered/Land Court side of the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds.

If the court has not otherwise specified, you must also state how you would like the Sheriff Office to record the attachment.


  • General: any and all property located in the County of Norfolk
  • General with Parcel: any and all property located in the County of Norfolk including but not limited to property located at a specific physical address and/or book & page
  • Specific: property located at a specific physical address and/or book & page

Registered/Land Court:

  • Always requires Certificate Number, Book and Page
  • The original Writ of Attachment will be forward back to you at completion of recording with the appropriate return of service.

You are responsible for providing the property address and Book and Page references for specific attachments and for general attachments where you wish to reference a specific property.

Steps for Serving Real Estate Attachment

Step 1 - Obtain and complete Writ of Attachment from the Court. If wish or are required to attach a specific property please make sure to include the book and page or certificate and document number of the deed. This information may be obtained from the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds.

Step 2 - Mail completed writ of attachment and cover letter to the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office Civil Process Division. Ensure that you have provided the address for the defendant to receive notice and a contact number for yourself. Please contact our office at (781) 326-7271 to arrange for advance payment. Pro Se customers will need to make payment prior to the writ being recorded.

Bulky Goods

Pursuant to Mass General Laws Ch. 223. S. 50 “If an attachment is made of articles of personal property which, by reason of their bulk or for other cause, cannot be immediately removed, a certified copy of the writ of attachment together with a certified copy of the officer's endorsement on the original writ of attachment of the date or dates of the executing of the writ, may, within three days after the attachment, be deposited in the office of the state secretary where filing would be required to perfect a security interest in such goods under article 9 of chapter 106 as if the debtor were located in the commonwealth under section 9–307 of said chapter 106. If the goods are fixtures, alternatively, the certified copy of the writ of attachment together with a certified copy of the officer's endorsement on the original writ of attachment of the date or dates of the executing of the writ, may, within 3 days after the attachment, be deposited in the registry to deeds of the real estate registry in which the goods are located. In either case, such attachment shall thereupon be as valid and effectual as if the articles had been retained in the possession and custody of the officer.”

Keeper Attachments

The Norfolk Sheriff Office has extensive experience in enforcing keeper attachments against a variety of businesses including restaurants and retail locations. These attachments empower the Sheriff Office to seize assets which come into the business throughout the day. In most cases this is accomplished by seizing the proceeds at the point of sale over a period of time.

General Laws Chapter 223 Section 48 provides “An officer directed to make an attachment of personal property may, if the writ bears an endorsement signed by a justice, associate justice or special justice of the court in which the action is commenced and stating that, in his opinion, the appointment of a keeper is necessary, appoint a keeper of such property at or after the time of making such attachment. No writ shall be so endorsed unless the plaintiff, in support of his application for said appointment, shall first have filed an affidavit stating the facts which require such appointment. The officer, if necessary, may appoint a keeper of personal property which has been taken on execution. In either of the aforesaid cases he shall, upon the written request of the defendant, remove such property or the keeper without unreasonable delay. Costs in an action in which a keeper has been appointed shall be at the discretion of the court.”

Helpful Links

Civil Procedure Rule 4.1: Attachment- https://www.mass.gov/rules-of-civil-procedure/civil-procedure-rule-41-attachment
Supreme Judicial Court Rules Supreme Judicial Court Rule 1:04A: Attachment- https://www.mass.gov/supreme-judicial-court-rules/supreme-judicial-court-rule-104a-attachment
G.L. c. 223, §§ 42-83A- Massachusetts Attachment Laws- https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleII/Chapter223
Section 42: Property subject to attachment- https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleII/Chapter223/Section42
Section 44A: Motor vehicles; conditions precedent- https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleII/Chapter223/Section44A
Section 48: Keeper; appointment; costs- https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleII/Chapter223/Section48
Section 50: Bulky goods- https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleII/Chapter223/Section50
Section 114A: Real estate attachments; expiration by operation of law- https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleII/Chapter223/Section114A
Section 115A: Failure of service upon defendant- https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleII/Chapter223/Section115A
Chapter 235 Section 34: Property exempt from execution- https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleII/Chapter235/Section34