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ASSETS. The property in the hands of an heir, executor, administrator or
trustee, which is legally or equitably chargeable with the obligations,
which such heir, executor, administrator or other trustee, is, as such,
required to discharge, is called assets. The term is derived from the French
word assez, enough; that is, the heir or trustee has enough property. But
the property is still called assets, although there may not be enough to
discharge all the obligations; and the heir, executor, &c., is chargeable in
distribution as far as such property extends.
2. Assets are sometimes divided by all the old writers, into assets enter mains and assets per descent; considered as to their mode of distribution, they are legal or equitable; as to the property from which they arise, they are real or personal.
3. Assets enter maim, or assets in hand, is such property as at once comes to the executor or other trustee, for the purpose of satisfying claims against him as such. Termes de la Ley.
4. Assets per descent, is 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 ancestor. 2 Williams on Ex. 1011.
5. Legal assets, are such as constitute the fund for the payment of debts according to their legal priority.
6. Equitable assets, are such as can be reached only by the aid of a court of equity, and are to be divided,, pari passu, among all the creditors; as when a debtor has made his property subject to his debts generally, which, without his act would not have been so subject. 1 Madd. Ch. 586; 2 Fonbl. 40 1, et seq.; Willis on Trust, 118.
7. Real assets, are such as descend to the heir, as in estate in fee simple.
8. Personal assets, are such goods and chattels to which the executor or administrator is entitled.
9. In commerce, by assets is understood all the stock in trade, cash, and all available property belonging to a merchant or company. Vide, generally, Williams on Exec. Index, h.t.; Toll. on Exec. Index, h.t.; 2 Bl. Com. 510, 511; 3 Vin. Ab. 141; 11 Vin. Ab. 239; 1 Vern. 94; 3 Ves. Jr. 117; Gordon's Law of Decedents, Index, h.t.; Ram on Assets.