The benefit of an agreement or contract can be assigned to another person with the assent of parties to the contract. The transfer is termed an assignment, from an assignor to an assignee.
Generally, an assignment should be written. However, oral assignments can also be valid. When the statute of frauds applies or there is a statutory requirement that an assignment should be in writing, the assignment should be wrriten to make it valid.[i] When a reasonable objection is not appropriately raised, the right to insist upon compliance of the writing requirement can be waived. When a statutory requirement or contractual provision requires written assignments, the assignee cannot bring any case to enforce his/her right on the basis of an oral assignment.[ii]
If a contract entered between original parties requires that any assignment should be made in writing, the parties should abide by the contract. If there is a contractual requirement that an oral assignment is not valid, the assignment should be in written form. In this case, an assignment cannot be enforced when it is not in writing.[iii]
In some states, the assignment of a nonnegotiable chose in action cannot be proven by operation of law and conduct of parties. In such cases, an assignee can sue in his/her name only when the assignment is in writing.
[i] Arden v. Brown, 1 F. Cas. 1091 (C.C.D. D.C. 1830).
[ii] Quaranto v. Silverman, 345 Mass. 423 (Mass. 1963).
[iii] Barron v. Williams, 58 S.C. 280 (S.C. 1900).