What Is an Assignee?

An assignee is a person, company, or entity who receives the transfer of property, title, or rights from another according to the terms of a contract. The assignee receives the transfer from the assignor. For example, an assignee may receive the title to a piece of real estate from an assignor.

Key Takeaways

  • An assignee is a person, company, or entity who receives the transfer of property, title, or rights from a contract.
  • The assignee receives the transfer from the assignor.
  • An assignee may be the recipient of an assignment, a liability, or appointed to act in the stead of another person or entity.
  • The assignee typically will only hold the rights of power of attorney for a specified time or for particular circumstances.
  • Once the time has expired or the circumstances have been resolved, the assignee would automatically relinquish those rights.
  • Not all assignment contracts are required to be made in writing, but they often are.

How an Assignee Works

An assignee may be the recipient of an assignment, a liability, or appointed to act in the stead of another person or entity. For example, an executor of an estate may be appointed through a will left by a decedent.

Types of Assignees

Assignee in Real Estate

An assignee is the recipient of a title when a deed is signed to confer ownership of property in a transaction. A tenant might choose to transfer their property rights to an assignee who would assume duties for paying rent and tending to the property. There may be limits to the rights and liabilities that are granted to an assignee based on the nature of the transfer or assignment of rights.

For example, an assignee might take on the property rights from a tenant who vacated a rental property, but the tenant may still be liable if the assignee does not make rent payments on time. An assignee who takes title and ownership of real estate might not have certain rights to use the property any way they wish. There may be rights of ingress and egress that must be negotiated with adjacent property owners who hold surrounding land parcels. The assignee could receive certain rights that run with the land when they are granted the title.

Assignment by Power of Attorney

Power of attorney may be assigned to a person to tend to certain affairs for a person while they are out of the country or not capable of taking action for themselves. The assignment of power of attorney can grant broad rights or be limited in scope by the terms set by the assignor. The rights could be for the specific handling of a contract or business deal that the assignor cannot be present for. The assignee typically will only hold the rights of power of attorney for a specified time or particular circumstances. Once the time has expired or the circumstances have been resolved, the assignee would automatically relinquish those rights. It is possible that the terms of power of attorney might allow an assignee to act in their self-interest rather than for the interests of the assignor.

Assignee in an Insurance Policy

In the context of a life insurance policy, interest in a policy can be transferred from the policyholder to a lender or relative by assignment of the policy. In this case, the policyholder is the assignor and the person in whose favor the policy has been assigned is called the assignee.

Assignee in a Contract

When one party to a contract—the assignor—hands off the contract's obligations and benefits to a different party—the assignee—this is known as an assignment of contract. In this situation, the assignee assumes all the rights and responsibilities of the contract from the assignor.

Assignee in a Loan

An assignee is a person or a company that buys your loan. For example, an auto dealer that extends credit to individuals may sell their loans to a bank. In this case, the bank is the assignee and the auto dealer is the assignor. If your loan has been sold, you owe money to whoever owns your loan. In the event that responsible parties fail to meet their loan obligations, the assignee has a lien on the vehicle and can repossess it.

Not all assignment contracts are required to be made in writing, but they often are. Assignment contracts may also need to be notarized and witnessed in order to be valid. The assignment of property and collateral for loans must be in writing.