Like moveable and immoveable property, claims can also be sold. The transfer of a personal claim is called assignment. A creditor can transfer a personal claim to a third party. This third party will then supersede the original creditor. The creditor who sells the claim is called the assignor, the acquirer of the claim is called the assignee. The debtor is no party to this transfer, but the assignment has consequences for him: he will have to pay his debt to the new creditor.
There are some formal requirements for assignment. A distinction can be made between assignments with and without a notice to the debtor. Both forms of assignment have to be effected in writing, by deed of assignment to be more specific. The deed may be drafted between the creditor and the third party (private instrument) or in the presence of a civil-law notary (authentic instrument). The claim that is to be transferred must be sufficiently specified.
In case of an assignment with notification, the assignment will have to be notified to the debtor so he will know that he will have to pay to another party, as the debtor is not a party to the transfer. An assignment without notification does not require a notice to the debtor, but the deed of assignment will have to registered with the Tax Authorities. The debtor can be discharged from all his obligations by paying to the original creditor until he is notified of the assignment.
Collection agencies often buy up claims of businesses for the purpose of collecting these themselves. This is called factoring. Assignments also often play a part in insurance matters. If an insured party has suffered damage that may be recovered from a third party, the insurer may take over the claim for compensation from the insured party. The insurer then pays out the amount of the claim to the insured party and thus obtains a claim against the third party.