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Legal Assignment

A transfer of rights in real or personal property from one party to another that gives the recipient the rights the owner or holder of the property had prior to the transfer.[i]  In Purman Estate, 358 Pa. 187, 190 (Pa. 1948), the court defines a legal assignment as “a transfer or setting over of property, or of some right or interest therein, from one person to another, and, unless in some way qualified, it is properly the transfer of one whole interest in an estate, chattel or other thing.”  An assignment of rights under a contract is the complete transfer of the rights to receive the benefits accruing to one of the parties to that contract.[ii]  An assignment is therefore an act by which a person transfers, vests, or causes to vest his rights or interests in a property upon another person.[iii]

However, in order to create a valid legal assignment, the assignment requires all the underlying elements of a valid contract, including intent.[iv]  Whether an assignment has occurred is ordinarily a question of fact for the trial court.  Therefore, in Minnesota Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Anderson, 1992 Minn. App. LEXIS 443, 7-8 (Minn. Ct. App. Apr. 29, 1992), the court held that the person assigning must have an intention to assign or transfer his/her rights related to a property or debt.  The subject matter assigned must be specifically mentioned in the assignment so as to clearly identify it.

[i] http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/assignment

[ii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assignment_(law)

[iii] Ditto Inv. Co. v. Ditto, 302 S.W.2d 692 (Tex. Civ. App. Fort Worth 1957)

[iv] Minnesota Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Anderson, 1992 Minn. App. LEXIS 443, 7-8 (Minn. Ct. App. Apr. 29, 1992)

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