A - H | I - R | S - Z
A - H
Abandon - To give up rights, property,
or a family relationship by desertion without
intention to return or reclaim.
Abstract of Title - A condensed,
chronological history of the recorded titles to a
piece of real estate.
A/B Trust - For use when a married
couple has a combined estate of more than $600,000.
Acceleration Clause - States that the
balance of a debt shall be considered due upon the
occurrence of an event, for instance the default of a single installment.
Addendum - Something added; a supplement.
Adverse Possession - Continuous, open, hostile, and
notorious possession and occupation of
real estate for a statutory length of time by a trespasser attempting to claim or establish title.
Affiant - A person who swears to and signs an affidavit.
Affidavit - A written and signed statement sworn to
Agency - An arrangement whereby a person or corporation
acts on behalf of another person
or corporation with his/her/its permission.
Agent - One who represents, does business for, or
acts on behalf of another with the
Alien - An individual who is not a United States
Amend - To revise, change, or alter.
Amortization - Reduction of a debt, such as a mortgage,
by regular payments on the principal
together with each periodic interest payment.
Annuity - An arrangement whereby a specific
sum is paid to a person in periodic payments
of one or more per year.
Antenuptial Agreement - A pre-wedding contract made
between a man and woman declaring the
agreed rights and obligations of each during their marriage and any subsequent divorce or separation.
Arrears - The amount that a debt is overdue or unpaid.
Asset - Certain holdings, cash or property, having value
that must be evaluated during
the eligibility determination/benefit calculation.
Asset List - Summary of assets owned by a Living Trust.
Assign - To convey or transfer, as to assign property rights or
interests to another.
Assignment - The transfer of property by the assignor to the assignee.
Attest - To certify the signatures on a document by signing the document
as a witness.
Attorney-at-Law - A lawyer, a person who is licensed to practice law,
try cases in court,
and give legal advice.
Back-up Trustee - Also called Successor Trustee; person or institution
named in the Trust
agreement who can take over should the first trustee die, resign or become unable to act.
Balloon Payment - A final payment that is more than twice the amount of
earlier regular payments.
Bankrupt - The condition of an insolvent debtor in which his or her property is turned over,
under jurisdiction of a federal bankruptcy court, to a Trustee to be distributed for the benefit
Beneficiaries - In a Living Trust the persons and/or organizations who receive the Trust
property after the death of the Trust grantor.
Bequeath - To leave personal property to someone by Will; to make a bequest
Bill of Sale - A document attesting to the conveyance of ownership of property, other
than real estate, from the seller to the buyer.
Binder - A preliminary agreement. In insurance, a binder serves to provide immediate coverage
until such time as a written policy is issued.
Blanket Mortgage - A mortgage that covers more than one piece of real estate.
Blindness - Central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of
correcting lens, or a limitation in the field of vision of the better eye such that the
widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees.
Breach of Contract - Failure to perform one or more conditions of a contract without
a legal excuse.
Broker - A middle person who transacts business for the benefit of others for a commission,
as does a real estate broker, stockbroker, etc.
Chattel - Personal, tangible, movable property.
Chattel Mortgage - A mortgage on personal, movable
property, such as furniture,
an auto, or cattle.
Clear Title - A title to property that has been
determined to be free from all
liens and encumbrances.
Closing - The meeting at which the buyer and seller
of a piece of real estate transfer
ownership with the exchange of money and the deed to the property.
Codicil - A written change or amendment to a Will.
Collateral - Property used as security for a loan. Also
refers to that which is
supporting, corroborating, or secondary. Collateral evidence.
Community Property - A principle recognized in some states
whereby property acquired
by a husband or wife during their marriage to each other becomes the property of both.
Inheritances and gifts are often exempt.
Condemnation - A legal declaration taking privately owned
real estate for public
use without the owner's consent with the payment of compensation.
This may be done pursuant to a governmental body's right of eminent domain.
Also the declaring of a premises to be unsafe for human habitation.
Contract - A legally enforceable, explicit, written
agreement between two or more
parties and made for a consideration.
Convey - To transfer ownership of property.
Conveyance - The document by which title to property is
transferred from one party to
another. Also, the act of transferring ownership of property.
Corporation - An association of one of more shareholders
having its own legal entity separate
from the individual shareholders.
Corporation Close - A corporation incorporated by a small
group of individuals, such as a
family, in which the majority of stock is ordinarily held by the officers and directors.
Corporation "S" - A corporation that chooses, as permitted
by the Internal Revenue Service,
to be taxed as a partnership. Stockholders' individual incomes are taxed rather than that of
Cosigner - A person who, by his or her signature,
guarantees the payment of a debt should the
original signer default; a co-maker.
Death Probate - The legal proceeding in the probate court,
designed to change title of the
property of a deceased person to any person who owns property in his name alone at the time of
his death. Your estate will go through probate whether or not you have a Will.
Decedent's Trust - Consists of one-half of the decedent's
community property, up to $600,000.
The surviving spouse has use of the income and assets, if necessary for support.
Deed - The legal instrument or document used to transfer
the ownership of real estate.
Deed, Warranty - A deed in which the seller agrees to
defend the title against any liens or
claims, thereby warranting the title.
Deed, Quit Claim - A deed relinquishing and denouncing
all of a seller's claims to a property
but does not guarantee against claims by others.
Default - Failure to meet a legal obligation, as in
failure to pay a debt when due. Also
failure to take steps required in a legal action.
Dependent - This means the same thing as it does for federal income tax
purposes. Someone a
person is entitled to take as a deduction on your personal income tax return.
Disability - The inability to engage in any substantial
gainful activity due to a medically
determinable physical or mental impairment. The impairment must be expected to result in death,
or have lasted or be expected to last for at least twelve months.
Disabled - Having an inability to engage in any
substantial activity due to any medically
determinable physical or mental impairment that has lasted or can be expected to last for a
period of at least twelve consecutive months or can be expected to result in death. It also refers
to having an incapacity for full employment of ordinary legal rights or an impediment to marriage.
Easement - The legal right to use of a limited portion of another's land for a specific purpose,
usually for the user's access to his or her own land.
Eminent Domain - The right of a government unit to take private property for public use without
the owner's consent but upon payment of just compensation.
Escrow - The delivery of a document, money, or property to a third party to be held in Trust
by the third party until certain conditions of an agreement between other parties have been met.
Estate Lawyer - A lawyer that helps you create an estate plan to protect your family and
assets; provides a way to avoid probate and reduce or eliminate estate taxes.
Estate Planning - The creation of a plan for managing your wealth while you are alive and
distributing it after your death. Your estate plan should protect you, your family and property
from guardianships, death probate, death taxes and provide for the distribution of your property
upon your death.
Estate Taxes - Federal or state taxes on the value of the property left at death; often called
inheritance tax or death tax.
Estoppel - A restraint to prevent a person from producing evidence to contradict or deny
his or her own previous assertion.
Executor - Person or institution named in a Will to carry out its instructions (female is
executrix); also called personal representative.
Fee Simple - Describes an estate, the inheritance of which confers unconditional ownership
and possession of real property that can be sold or left to heirs without restriction. Also
expressed as "in fee" or "fee simple and absolute". Real property so conveyed is usually
conveyed "to Jones in fee simple".
Fiduciary - Person having the legal duty to act primarily for another's benefit, implies
great confidence and trust and a high degree of good faith; (usually associated with a Trustee).
Foreclosure - To legally terminate a mortgage and take possession of the mortgaged property by
court order after default by a borrower.
Garnishment - A legal proceeding whereby a debtor's salary is withheld from him or her by
the debtor's employer and paid to a judgment creditor instead of to the debtor.
Grantor - The person who sets up or creates the Trust; also called the settlor.
Gross Value - The value of an estate before the debts are paid; (probate fees are usually
calculated on the gross value of the estate).
Guarantee - To promise to be responsible for a debt or legal obligation of another in the
event of default. To promise that one will do a specific thing. A warranty to assure the
continued quality of a thing. To furnish security for an arrangement.
Guardian - One who is legally responsible for the care and well being of another person;
if appointed by a court, the guardian is under the court's supervision.
Health Care Power of Attorney - Authorizes someone to make health care decisions for
you if you become incapacitated.
Heir, Legal - One who inherits property pursuant to the laws of intestacy;
an heir at law.
Holographic Will - A Will written entirely in
the hand of the maker.
Homestead - A residence and related property exempt from execution for
general debts in bankruptcy.
Hospice - A Medicaid program that provides special services for
terminally ill individuals.
Hypothecate - To pledge property as security but without transfer of
title or possession to the lender.