ASSETS - Black's Law Dictionary

What is ASSETS? Definition of ASSETS in Black's Law Dictionary

The word, though more generally used to denote everything which comes to the representatives of a deceased person, yet is by no means confined to that use, but has come to signify everything which can be made available for the payment of debts, whether belonging to the estate of a deceased person or not. Hence we speak of the assets of a bank or other monied corporation, the assets of an insolvent debtor, and the assets of an individual or private copartnership; and we always use this word when we speak of the means which a party has, as compared with his liabilities or debts. Pelican v. Rock Falls, 81 Wis. 428, 51 N.W. 871.

The property or effects of a bankrupt or insolvent, applicable to the payment of his debts. The term "assets" includes all property of every kind and nature, chargeable with the debts of the bankrupt, that comes into-the hands of and under the control of thesignee; and the value thereof is not to be considered a  less sum than that actually realized out of said property, and received by the assignee for it. In re Taggert, 16 N. B. R. 351, Fed. Cas. No. 13, 725 ; Progressive Building & Loan Co. v. Hall, C.C.A.Va., 220 F. 45, 46.

Commercial Law
The aggregate of available property, stock in trade, cash, etc., belonging to a merchant or mercantile company.

The term "assets," as applied to a bank, is broad enough to cover anything which is or may be available to pay creditors; but, as usually understood, it refers to the tangible property of the corporation, and not to the liability of stockholders contingent upon insolvency. Hill v. Smathers, 173 N.C. 642, 92 S.E. 607, 609; Deariso v. Mobley,38 Ga.App. 313, 143 S.E. 915, 920. But when the  individual liability of stockholders has been enforced by the superintendent of banks, funds collected by him thereunder are "assets." Bennett v. Wilkes County, 164 Ga. 790, 139 S.E. 566, 568.

But on other hand stockholders' voluntary assessment to relieve bank or for betterment of stock. Thomson v. Holt, 345 Mo. 296, 132 S.W.2d 974, 977; bank stockholders' ha. bility, Farmers & Merchants Bank of Morgantown v. Bank of Masontown, 123 W.Va. 451, 15 S.E.2d 569, 572; and bank directors' contribution to special bond account to make good shrinkage in regular bond were held to be assets. Asher v. West End Bank, 345 Mo. 89, 131 S.W.2d 549, 551.

Probate Law
Property of a decedent available for the payment of debts and legacies; the estate coming to the heir or personal representative which is chargeable, in law or equity, with the obligations which such heir or representative is required, in his representative capacity, to discharge.

In an accurate and legal sense, all the personal property of the deceased which is of a salable nature. and may be converted into ready money, is deemed assets. But the word is not confined to such property; for all other property of the deceased, real or personal, tangible or intangible, legal or equitable, which can be made available for or can be appropriated to payment of debts, is, in a large sense, assets. Trust Co. v. Earle, 110 U.S. 710, 4 Sup.Ct. 231, 28 L.Ed. 30; Condo v. Barbour, 101 Ind.App. 483, 200 N.E. 76; Tapp v. Stuart, D.C.Okl., 6 F.Supp. 577, 578.


  • Assets entre mains. L. Fr. Assets in hand;assets in the hands of executors or administrators, applicable for the  payment of debts. Termes de la Ley; 2 Bl.Comm. 510; 1 Crabb, Real Prop. Ti; Favorite v. Booher, 17 Ohio St. 557.
  • Assets per descent. That portion of the ancestor's estate which descends to the heir, and which is sufficient to charge him, as far as it goes, with the specialty debts of his ancestors. 2 Williams, Ex'rs, 1011.
  • Equitable assets. Equitable assets are all assets which are chargeable with the payment of debts or legacies in equity, and which do not fall under the description of legal assets. 1 Story, Eq.Jur. § 552. Those portions of the property which by the ordinary rules of law are exempt from debts, but which the testator has voluntarily charged as assets, or which, being non-existent at law, have been created in equity. Adams, Eq. 254, et seq.

They are so called because they can be reached only by the aid and instrumentality of a court of equity, and because their distribution is governed by a different rule from that which governs the distribution of legal assets. 2 Fonbl. Eq. b. 4, pt. 2, c. 2, § 1, and notes; Story, Eq. Jur. § 552.

  • Legal assets. See Legal Assets.
  • Personal assets. Chattels, money, and otherpersonal property belonging to a bankrupt, insolvent, or decedent  estate, which go to the assignee or executor.
  • Quick assets. This term was used in a corporation credit statement merely to distinguish liquid assets from those permanently invested in the business, like real estate and machinery, and included amounts charged against officers for return of part of salaries paid them in a previous year, in accordance with the agreement of employment. In re American Knit Goods Mfg. Co., C.C.A.N.Y., 173 F. 480, 97 C.C.A. 486.
  • Real assets. Lands or real estate in the hands of an heir, chargeable with the payment of the debts of the ancestor. 2 Bl.Comm. 244, 302.


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