An assignment of claims is a legal and financial process that allows one party to transfer or “assign” a claim to someone else, provided that the other party is in full knowledge of the assignment and agrees to it. In this process, the party that transfers the claim is called the assignor, and the party to whom the claim is transferred is called the assignee. Essentially, this situation entitles the assignee to the rights previously held by the assignor, according to the claim or contract. The assignment of claims, however, may also involve transference of some liabilities and legal responsibilities to the assignee.
There are many situations wherein assignment of claims can be applicable, such as in insurance claims, bankruptcies, and damages to compensate for an accident or injury. In the US, companies abide by the “Assignment of Claims Act of 1940” to carry out an assignment of claim when a contract between the said company and a client expires or is about to expire. One condition under the act is that there is a sum of $1,000 US Dollars or higher involved in the contract; if the sum is lower than that, then an assignment may not be able to push through.
The company may only assign the claim to an assignee of a “financing institution,” like banks, government-funded lending agencies, or trust companies or corporations. This condition ensures that the assignee is able to take on the responsibilities involving the claim, especially for financial aspects. The existing contract between the assignor and another party should also not state any problem with assigning the claim to a new assignee; otherwise, the party with whom the assignor has a contract can sue the assignor for contract violation. Another condition would be that the assignor can only assign the claim to only one assignee, and that the latter cannot transfer the claim to another party.
Many cases require that the assignment be formally filed, especially when it involves property of high value, such as a huge sum or money, land, or forms of collateral. Generally, the courts do not have to investigate why an assignment was filed, but require the filing primarily for documentation purposes. In this process, another contract should be drawn up, stating that the claim will be transferred from the assignor to the assignee. Once the contract is agreed to and the two parties have willingly signed the contract, the assignment of claims is complete and a novation takes place, making the assignee the new claim holder.