Garnishee Law and Legal Definition

Garnishee is a person or institution like a bank that is indebted to or is bailee for another whose property has been subjected to garnishment. Garnishment is a legal proceeding in which a creditor or potential creditor asks the court to order a third party (garnishee) who is indebted to or is bailee for the debtor to turn over to the creditor any of the debtor's property held by that third party (garnishee).

Example of a state statute (Wisconsin) on liability of garnishees

Wis. Stat. § 812.18. Liability of garnishee.

(1) From the time of service upon the garnishee, the garnishee shall be liable to the creditor for the property then in the garnishees possession or under his or her control belonging to the debtor or in which the debtor is interested to the extent of his or her right or interest therein and for all the garnishees debts due or to become due to the debtor, except such as are exempt from execution, or are required by a court to be paid by the debtor as restitution under s. 973.20, but not in excess of the amount of the creditors claim.

(2m) (a) In this section, "dependent" means any individual including a spouse who requires and is actually receiving substantial support and maintenance from the defendant.(b) If the property which is the subject of a garnishment action is the proceeds from the sale of crops, livestock, dairy products or another product grown or produced by a person or by his or her minor children, the garnishee shall pay over to the defendant on the date when the payment would normally be made any exempt amount under s. 815.18 (3) (h) (c) The restrictions of par. (b) do not apply in the case of:

1. An order of any court for the support of any person.

2. An order of any court of bankruptcy under chapter XIII of the bankruptcy act.

3. Any debt due for any state or federal tax.

4. An order of a court under s. 128.21

(3) If the garnishee holds subject to the garnishment or pays pursuant to s. 812.13, moneys owed the principal defendant equal to the amount of the plaintiffs claim as set forth in the garnishee complaint and disbursements, then any excess moneys owed the defendant, and any garnisheed property in the garnishees possession or control, shall no longer be subject to the garnishment. If the moneys owed by the garnishee to the defendant and so held are less than the amount claimed and disbursements, all property subject to the garnishment shall be held pending the further order of the court, subject to any rights of disposition that the garnishee may have, and all proceeds therefrom to which defendant would be entitled shall likewise be retained. The defendant may, on notice, petition the court for an order to release, from the garnishment, all property or its proceeds not reasonably required to assure payment of the plaintiffs claim and disbursements.