A-H | I-R | S-Z
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 $5,490,000. This Trust helps to avoid estate taxes by preserving two unified credit/applicable credit amounts without having to file a 706 Estate Tax Return and claim portability.
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 under oath.
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 other's permission.
Alien - An individual who is not a United States citizen.
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 of creditors.
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 the corporation.
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 $5,490,000. 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); called Personal Representative in Florida.
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 Trustor or 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.