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An assignment is the transfer of property or some other right from one person to another.[i] The person who assigns the property is known as an assignor.  The person to whom property is assigned is called assigns or assignee.  Generally, terms like heirs, administrators, and assigns are used to represent persons to whom the property is assigned.  Different terms are used for assignees to denote the assignable nature of the interest or right created.  The word assigns encompasses all those who take property by conveyance, devise, descent, or act of law.[ii]

The term assigns includes:

  • an assignee of an assignee;
  • a subsequent assignee or grantee;
  • successive transferees; and
  • a successor in title to real property.[iii]

The term assigns comprises not merely a single person, but a line or succession of persons.  The word assigns includes the assignee of an assignee in perpetuum and the heir of an assignee or the assignee of a heir.  Additionally, the term includes the assignee of an assignee’s executor and a devisee [iv]

The word assigns also extends to executors and administrators.  Assigns includes the executor or administrator of an obligee or covenantee being his/her assign or assignee by operation of law.[v]

The term “successor” does not ordinarily connote an assign, but is normally used in the context of corporate entities.  The term successor is frequently used where corporations become invested with the rights and assume the burdens of another corporation by amalgamation, consolidation, or duly authorized legal succession.  A successor is an appropriate term to denote persons to whom property descends or estate of decedent descends.[vi]

If the assignment is created to secure repayment of debt, an assignee acquires all rights of priority or preference and all collateral securities and liens previously held by the assignor.[vii]

Under the law of assignments, assigns and assignors have equivalent footing.  This means that an assignment does not confer on the assigns any greater rights than those possessed by the assignor.  However, the assignee’s rights are also not inferior to those of the assignor.[viii]

[i] Purman Estate, 358 Pa. 187 (Pa. 1948)

[ii] Etter v. Industrial Valley Bank & Trust Co., 356 Pa. Super. 502, 509 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1986)

[iii] Gluck v. Polakoff, 1932 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 185, 8-9 (Pa. C.P. 1932)

[iv] Gluck v. Polakoff, 1932 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 185, 8-9 (Pa. C.P. 1932)

[v] Douglas v. Hennessy, 15 R.I. 272 (R.I. 1886)

[vi] International Asso. of Machinists v. Falstaff Brewing Corp., 328 S.W.2d 778, 781 (Tex. Civ. App. Houston 1st Dist. 1959); D.D.J. Electrical Contractors, Inc. v. Nanfito & Sons Builders, Inc., 40 Conn. Supp. 50, 52 (Conn. Super. Ct. 1984)

[vii] Himes v. Cameron County Constr. Corp., 497 Pa. 637 (Pa. 1982)

[viii] U.S. Steel Homes Credit Corp. v. South Shore Development Corp., 277 Pa..308.(1980)

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