Common-Law Assignment Law and Legal Definition

A common-law assignment is an assignment for the benefit of creditors under the common law, independent of any statutory support. Common-law assignments are valid, independent of statutory assignments. [ McKelvy v. Striker, 108 Colo. 320, 116 P.2d 921 (1941)]. However, laws governing common law assignment differ by jurisdiction.

The following is an example of a state statute (Michigan) on common-law assignment:

MCL § 600.5201. Common law assignments for the benefit of creditors; requirements for validity; bond of assignee; filing; approval; attachment or execution on assigned property; acknowledgment; inventory.

(1) All assignments commonly called common law assignments for the benefit of creditors are void unless the same are without preferences as between such creditors and are of all the property of the assignor not exempt from execution, and the instrument of assignment (or a duplicate thereof), a list of creditors of the assignor, and a bond for the faithful performance of the trust by the assignee are filed in the office of the clerk of the circuit court where said assignor resides, or if he is not a resident of the state, then of the county where the assigned property is principally located, within 10 days after the making thereof.

(2) No such assignment is effectual to convey the title to the property to the assignee until such bond is filed with and approved by said clerk.

(3) No attachment or execution levied upon any assigned property of such assignor after such assignment and before the expiration of the time provided herein for filing such bond, is valid, and does not create any lien upon such property.

(4) Such assignment shall be acknowledged before some officer authorized to take acknowledgments. Such inventory shall be a detailed statement as near as may be of the general description, value and location of all the property and rights assigned, and in cases of persons engaged in business, specifying the original cost of any goods, wares, merchandise, fixtures and furniture. Such list of creditors shall, as far as the assignor can state the same, contain the name and post office address of each creditor, the amount due as near as may be over and above all defenses, the actual consideration for the debt, when contracted, and all securities and the value thereof held by each creditor. Such inventory and list of creditors shall be sworn by the assignor to be full, true and correct to the best of his knowledge, information and belief.

(5) Such bond shall be to the assignor for the joint and several use and benefit of himself and each, any and all of the creditors of such assignor in a penal sum at least double the value of the assigned property as shown by such inventory, and conditioned for the prompt and faithful administration of the trust by the assignee and shall be signed by the assignee and sufficient surety or sureties, who shall, under oath endorsed on said bond, testify that they are worth in the aggregate over and above all exemptions, incumbrances and debts, the penal sum of said bond.