Business Halacha: Freezing Debtor’s Assets


commercial-real-estateQuestion: Under what conditions can I ask to freeze the assets of my debtor?

Answer: If the creditor suspects that the debtor will hide his assets so that it will not be possible to collect the loan when it becomes due, beis din should freeze the assets if the concern seems real. Similarly, if the borrower is squandering his assets or wants to leave the country before the loan is due, the lender can demand that the borrower pay him or establish a guarantor. (C.M. 73:10)

The Shach (73:34) cites the Maharshal, however, that if the borrower is not squandering his assets but experiencing great financial difficulties, the creditor cannot do so before the loan is due. [Once the loan is due, though, Aruch Hashulchan (73:15) writes that we freeze even in this circumstance.] The Shach concludes that the application of freezing assets varies from place to place and depends on the determination of the beis din.

Some authorities permit freezing assets in a secular court when there is clear basis and there is concern for loss, such as if the borrower will squander his assets before there is chance to adjudicate in beis din. (Pischei Choshen, Halva’ah 6:nt. 12) It is preferable, though, to get permission first from beis din when possible.

Authored by Rabbi Meir Orlian

These articles are for learning purposes only and cannot be used for final halachic decision.

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