thing in action


property in a right to be paid money or receive some benefit enforceable by legal action but which is not primarily a right to possession of a physical object. A debt, a policy of insurance, and a copyright, are examples of things in action. There may be some documentary evidence of the existence of the property – an invoice in the case of a debt, a policy document in the case of an insurance – but possession of such a document is not normally considered to be the most important benefit conferred by having property in the debt or in the insurance policy etc: the most important benefit is the right to be paid the debt, the right to be paid the insurance money etc. Also called ‘chose in action’.


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