Trustee Process Law & Legal Definition


In Massachusetts, trustee process refers to a procedure or legal process by which a third party, rather than the creditor, attaches a debtor's property. Trustee process is similar to Garnishment. In Massachusetts the third person or garnishee is referred to as the trustee.

Attachment by trustee process is made for the purpose of "holding property of another against his will to answer for a debt due the plaintiff." [In re Brauer, 452 Mass. 56, 60 (Mass. 2008)]

The following is an example of the law in Massachusetts saying about the actions that can be commenced by Trustee process:

ALM GL ch. 246, § 1. Actions Which May be Commenced by Trustee Process.

Trustee process may be used in accordance with the applicable rules of court in connection with the commencement of all personal actions except actions only for specific recovery of goods and chattels, for malicious prosecution, for slander and libel, or for assault and battery; and any person may be summoned as trustee of the defendant therein; but except in the case of a complaint which contains a statement that the action is upon a judgment, a contract for personal services, for goods sold and delivered, or for money due under a contract in writing, or to recover damages on account of the operation of a motor vehicle not registered in the commonwealth, no summons and complaint in any action seeking damages in excess of one thousand dollars shall be served upon any alleged trustee unless there shall have been filed by the plaintiff, if other than a city or town of the commonwealth named therein, in the court wherein such action is commenced, a bond with a surety company authorized to do business in the commonwealth as surety, or with sureties approved by a justice, associate justice or special justice of such court, said bond to be in a penal sum in such amount as the court which approves the trustee process shall require but not less than two hundred and fifty dollars and to be conditioned upon payment to the defendant, if the plaintiff fails to recover or if such action is discontinued, of all costs which may be awarded to the defendant and all damages which he may sustain by reason of such attachment, but not exceeding the penal sum of the bond, nor unless there shall have been endorsed on the complaint by the justice, associate justice or special justice who approved said bond, or by the clerk of such court, the fact that the bond required by this section has been filed in such court. An individual who is not an inhabitant of the commonwealth, or a foreign corporation or association, shall not be so summoned unless he or it has a usual place of business in the commonwealth. The amount paid by the plaintiff to a surety company for becoming surety on such a bond shall be taxed in his costs if he prevails in the action. No bond shall be required to be filed as provided herein in an action brought hereunder by the attorney general on behalf of the commonwealth or any department, board, commission, office or officer thereof. Trustee process may likewise be issued in actions to enforce an order for alimony, maintenance or child support by the filing of a complaint and following the procedures set forth in section thirty-six A of chapter two hundred and eight, and no bond shall be required to be filed as otherwise provided herein in such actions.