Identification of Subject Matter

An assignment must adequately describe and identify the property or thing intended to be assigned in order to make that assignment valid.[i] In other words, a valid assignment must contain evidence of the intent to transfer one’s rights and the subject matter of the assignment must be described sufficiently to make it identified.[ii] While the chosen action must be identified, no greater particularity is required than is actually necessary to do the same.[iii]

In Hogan v. Dalziel, 40 Ill. App. 2d 19 (Ill. App. Ct. 2d Dist. 1963), the court observed that in order to constitute an assignment, there must be a purpose to assign the whole or a part of a particular thing, debt, or chose in action, and the subject matter of the assignment must be described with such particularity as to render it capable of identification.

The primary factor in an equitable assignment is the identification of the subject matter.  It must not be vague or uncertain.[iv] An equitable assignment is precluded from the identification, if the property subject to the equity is adequately described.[v] Further, an assignment passes all rights, title, or interest of the assignor in that property to the assignee, if an adequate description of the property assigned is included.[vi]

[i] Turner v. Rust, 228 Ark. 528 (Ark. 1958)

[ii] K. Woodmere Assocs., L.P. v. Menk Corp., 316 N.J. Super. 306 (App.Div. 1998)

[iii] Houtz v. General Bonding & Ins. Co., 235 F.2d 591 (10th Cir. N.M. 1956)

[iv] In re Dier, 296 F. 816 (3d Cir. Pa. 1924)

[v] Northwest Nat’l Bank v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., 25 Ark. App. 279 (Ark. Ct. App. 1988)

[vi] Watkins v. Hadamek, 48 Ark. App. 78 (Ark. Ct. App. 1994)


Inside Identification of Subject Matter