There are certain presumptions regarding assignments.  Even if an assignment is gratuitous, it is irrevocable if accompanied by a writing customarily accepted as evidence of the right assigned, or if it is in writing and either signed or delivered by the assignor.[i] An assignment in writing is presumed to be upon a sufficient consideration.  If an assignment is absolute in nature, then it is presumed to be upon a consideration.[ii] If the assignment states that it is for a valuable consideration, there is a presumption to that effect, created by the assignor’s admission.

While there are circumstances under which a presumption will exist that an assignment was intended solely from the nature of the transaction, the mere possession of a chose in action will not raise a presumption of an assignment to such holder.

In Smith v. Rowe, 3 Wn.2d 320 (Wash. 1940), an assignor alleged an indebtedness of the debtors to a foreign corporation for certain goods supplied by the debtors to the assignor.  The debtors admitted to the purchase of the goods but denied the indebtedness and also denied that the account was assigned to the assignee.  The only proof of the assignment was a blank assignment by the president of the corporation that did not state to whom the assignment was being made.  The court found that the assignee failed to sustain her burden of proof of the assignment.

[i] Exeter Exploration Co. v. Fitzpatrick, 202 Mont. 209 (Mont. 1983)

[ii] Hamilton v. Diefenderfer, 21 Wyo. 266 (Wyo. 1913)

Inside Presumptions