Assignments and conveyances are both transfers of ownership interests in property, including real estate, intellectual property or personal property. You will often see conveyances used in real estate contracts, especially those involving deeds. You typically see assignments used in contracts involving personal property. You must legally document any transfer by assignment or conveyance.
Conveyance refers to the transfer of ownership or interest in real estate or real property from one person or entity to another by a legally acceptable document. Acceptable documents include deeds, mortgages, leases and statements of conveyance. The latter is different from a deed or lease in that it is a much simpler document, usually only one page. You can also use a statement of conveyance to transfer intangible property — for example, a trademark or license — to someone else. You must have a conveyance acknowledged before a notary for it can to be legal.
An assignment is the transfer of a claim, right, interest or title to a property, especially personal property. In addition, an assignment refers to the actual document — also called the instrument — you use to record and make the transfer legal or the property you actually assign. When you sell a house, you're making an assignment of that property to the person buying it through that stack of paperwork that you sign at closing.
Assignment in Practice
You typically assign something — real estate, shares in a corporation, rights to the book you wrote — to a person, trust, corporation, limited liability company or charity. For example, if you invest in the stock market with options, your broker may require you to assign your shares to the brokerage firm. It does this in case it needs to sell your shares to satisfy the option agreement terms. Consult with an attorney to ensure that you properly structure the assignment and address any issues.
Conveyance Versus Assignment
Conveyance is a term used to describe what occurs in real estate and real property transactions. For example, when you buy a house, the seller conveys his ownership to you via a deed. In addition, you convey a security interest in your home to your lender via a mortgage. Assignment is a term that most use to cover non-real estate transactions or partial ownership interest. For example, if you donate stock in a company to a charity, you will sign a document assigning those shares to that charity.