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Attachment protection

A large part of the debtor's assets can be seized in enforcement - but there are also exceptions. In this article, we explain exactly what these are and what needs to be taken into account.

Editorial Team Germany | Aug 7, 2023 2 min

What may be seized?  

Not all tangible and intangible assets are seizable. Items with a high sentimental value, such as wedding rings, are unseizable. Household appliances, furniture and objects that are absolutely necessary for education or gainful employment may also not be seized without further ado.
However, the creditor has access to luxury goods and other high-value items through an attachment. Through an exchange attachment, even such objects can be seized that are unseizable in a strict sense. 
In general, unseizable items include:
-    Household goods and other movable property required for personal use and everyday life (such as clothing, simple furniture, ordinary household effects, radio, television set, etc.)
-    Items that are absolutely necessary in the context of gainful employment or training (such as a delivery van, notebook, tools, etc.)

Here you will find an overview of the attachability of various objects and assets: 

Asset / object

Seizable or not seizable?

Child benefit

Child benefit as such is not directly seizable. However, if an attachment protection account exists, the child benefit can be seized. This is because all money received, including child benefit, is taken into account when determining the amount that is exempt from attachment.

Attendance allowance

In principle, attendance allowance is also unseizable. However, if an attachment protection account exists, the situation is the same as with child benefit. Here, too, an increase in the exemption amount can be obtained.


The old-age pension paid by the pension insurance is considered as normal income. It is seizable. Special pensions such as widows' pensions, orphans' pensions or maintenance pensions are only seizable under certain conditions. It depends on the individual case.


The creditor cannot seize maintenance payments directly from the person liable to pay the maintenance. As in the case of child benefit, maintenance payments must be protected from seizure by means of an attachment protection account and, if necessary, by increasing the allowance.

Wages / salary

The seizable part of the earned income can be attached directly from the employer. The amount of the unseizable part depends on the net earnings and the maintenance obligations.

Remuneration for overtime

Half of the remuneration for overtime may be garnished.

Christmas bonus

Christmas bonuses are protected from garnishment up to half the amount of the unseizable earned income (see above). If the Christmas bonus is higher, the excess part goes to the creditor due to the garnishment.

Holiday pay

Only the part of the holiday allowance that exceeds the usual amount can be garnished. If it exceeds the amount of a monthly salary, this limit may be overstepped. It depends on how much holiday pay is usually paid in a comparable company.

Refund of expenses

Expense refunds are unseizable, since they represent compensation for costs that have actually been incurred - as long as they remain within the bounds of the usual.


In principle, a vehicle may be seized by the bailiff. The prerequisite for this is, however, that the vehicle still has a sufficient sale value and that the vehicle is not absolutely necessary for gainful employment. In the latter case, however, an exchange attachment is possible.

Mobile phone / smartphone

A fully paid-off private mobile phone or smartphone may be seized. In practice, however, this is rarely the case, as the resale value is often low and the effort of auctioning is not worthwhile.

Television set

Television sets are part of the basic equipment of a home and are therefore considered unseizable. However, if the model is of particularly high value, it may also be subject to exchange attachment.

Computer / notebook

Whether a computer or notebook is seized depends largely on its value. If the device is absolutely necessary for gainful employment, a replacement attachment is the most that can be considered.

Subsistence level and attachment exemption limit 

In Germany, there are so-called attachment exemption limits, which are intended to ensure that every debtor has a seizure-free amount of money at his or her free disposal. This amount is calculated in such a way that current living costs, such as rent, electricity and food, can be covered.

How high the exemption limit is depends on the debtor's net income and maintenance obligations. If children or a spouse have to be taken care of, the exemption amount is higher than for a single person. The applicable exemption amount can be gathered from a table, the attachment table. This table is adjusted every year.


The exemption limit is binding. Only income above the exemption limit can be seized. 

Our tip

An attachment should not be taken lightly, as it can have a drastic effect on your life.

An attachment results in costs that have to be paid in addition to the actual claim. Therefore, it is always better to avoid an attachment!

If you are already affected by an attachment, you can pay off the debt faster by making voluntary special payments and thus end the attachment sooner.




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.