Torts. The unlawful turning or applying the personal goods of another to the use of the taker, or of some other person than the owner; or the unlawful destroying or altering their nature.
When a party takes away or wrongfully assumes the right to goods which belong to another, it will in general be sufficient evidence of a conversion but when the original taking was lawful, as when the party found the goods, and the detention only is illegal, it is absolutely necessary to make a demand of the goods, and there must be a refusal to deliver them before the conversion will be complete. The refusal by a servant to deliver the goods entrusted to him by his master is not evidence of a conversion by his master.
The tortious taking of property is, of itself, a conversion and any intermeddling with it, or any exercise of dominion over it, subversive of the dominion of the owner or the nature of the bailment if it be bailed, is evidence of a conversion.
In Equity. The considering of one thing as changed into another; for example, land will be considered as converted into money and treated as such by a court of equity, when the owner has contracted to sell his estate, in which case, if he die before the conveyance, his executors and not his heirs will be entitled to the money. On the other hand, money is converted into land in a variety of ways as for example, when a man agrees to buy land and dies before he has received the conveyance, the money he was to pay for it will be considered as converted into lands, and descend to the heir.