Glossary of Terms

A-H | I-R | S-Z

I - R


Incapacitated - An individual whose sickness or disability affects his or her ability to care for the individual's children or perform employment and training activities.

Incompetence - A person declared incompetent by the court (legal) or the person's inability to function normally (functional).

Incapacitated/Incompetent - One who is unable to manage his/her own affairs, either temporarily or permanently; also applies to minor children; lack of legal power.

Irrevocable Trust - Opposite of Revocable Trust; a trust that cannot be changed, revoked or canceled once it is established.

Intestate - Without a Will. The legal process of the probate court receiving all claims, ordering creditors paid and property distributed according to the laws of the state (state's Will).



Joint Ownership - Also called joint tenancy; when two or more persons own the same property; death of a joint owner immediately transfers ownership to the surviving joint owner(s); different from tenancy-in-common.

Judgement - The final determination of a court.



Landlord - The owner of real property who rents or leases it to another.

Lease - A written contract in which a landlord (lessor) and a tenant (lessee) agree to the conditions whereby the tenant has a right to the possession and use of a specific property for a specific consideration.

Lessee - One who leases or rents real property.

Lessor - The owner of real property who rents or leases it to another.

License - Legal permission to engage in an activity that would be illegal without the authority of the license.

Lien - A legal claim that one party has against the property of another as security for a debt.

Life Insurance - A contract under which the insurer agrees to pay a specified amount upon the death of the insured.

Liquidate - To coMaintenance care or care that is expected to last for an exceptionally long period of time not covered by medical insurancenvert assets to cash. To settle a business affair or pay off a debt or obligation.

Living Will - A written document stating you do not wish to be kept alive by artificial means when the illness or injury is terminal.

Long-Term Care - Maintenance care or care that is expected to last for an exceptionally long period of time not covered by medical insurance.



Maker - One who makes or signs a promissory note payable to another.

Marketable Title - A title that any reasonably informed buyer can assume to be sufficiently free and clear of encumbrances for the transaction of business.

Medicaid - A state administered federal program of medical assistance available to groups of specific individuals defined in policy. Federal matching funds for Medicaid are available to states under Title XIX of the Social Security Act, as amended. The purpose of this federal funding is to enable states to provide a more effective medical assistance program to individuals identified on a defined basis of financial need.

Medicare - A federal insurance program based on entitlement. It covers aged and disabled individuals who have sufficient work history. There are two parts: hospitalization (Part A) and medical coverage (Part B).

Minor Child - A child under the legal age for an adult; varies by state (usually under 18 or 21).

Modify - To change or alter.

Mortgage - A contract pledging real property as security for a debt the lender being the mortgagee and the borrower being the mortgagor.



Notary Public - A person authorized by law to perform certain public functions such as witnessing signatures, administering oaths, and taking affidavits.

Novation - The writing of a new contract that supersedes a previous contract between the same parties and that is related to the same matters.



Oath - A solemn avowal made as to the truth of a matter, the intentional breaking of which is cause for prosecution for perjury.

Option - An agreement giving one of the parties the right to buy or sell property at a specific price within a specific time.



Parent - The natural, legal, or adoptive father or mother of a child.

Partnership, General - A relationship between two or more parties, usually defined by a written agreement, whereby each furnishes specific material or nonmaterial assets (such as labor) for the joint conduct of a business and each shares profits and losses therefrom in specific proportions.

Partnership, Limited - A contract between two or more persons whereby the active partner or partners operate a business and are solely responsible for its debts and commitments and who share its profits with others; limited partners, who have invested only money (rather than time and effort) in the venture.

Patent - A document granted by the federal government giving an inventor exclusive rights to manufacture, sell, and otherwise exploit an invention for a specific period of time.

Personal Property - Movable property (as opposed to real property which is permanent, such as land); includes furniture, automobiles, equipment, cash and stock.

Petit - Petty; on a lesser scale; of minor significance, as distinguished from grand.

Petition - A formal request for action usually court action.

Plaintiff - A complainant; one who initials a lawsuit against the defendant.

Plat - A map of an area that shows streets, lots, and the locations of boundary markers, including measurements as surveyed.

Pour-over Will - A short Will often used with a Living Trust; states any property left out of your Living Trust will become part of ("pour over" to) your Living Trust upon your death.

Power of Attorney - A legal document giving another person full legal authority to sign your name on your behalf in your absence; different from the fiduciary duty of a Trustee. It ends at disability or death and some states permit a durable power of attorney which is valid through disability and ends at death. These are general powers of attorney. There are also limited powers of attorney which give someone only limited authority for a very specific purpose (for example, to sell a car).

Premises - A specific parcel of land or specific portion of a building. Also refers to the preliminary statements explaining or describing a document.

Probate - To prove officially after the death of a testator that his or her Will is authentic, valid, and properly executed so that its provisions may be carried out.

Proceeds - The amount of money gained; the financial yield of profits from a particular venture. Also the amount of a money judgment handed down by a court.

Promissory Note - A written instrument in which the maker promises to pay the bearer of the note a specific sum, with interest, at a specific time, or on demand, in payment of a debt.

Property - Anything that can be owned. Real property refers to land and its buildings. Property other than real property (real estate) is referred to as personal property, personalty, or chattels.



Real Property - Land and property which is "permanently" attached to the land (such as a building or house).

Receiver - A court appointed officer who holds possession of a defendant's property during civil litigation and who then may be ordered to dispose of the property under direction of the court, as in a foreclosure or bankruptcy. Such property is said to be in receivership.

Reciprocity - The recognition in one state of the laws, judgments, rights, and licenses granted by another state in exchange for similar recognition of such laws, judgments, rights, and licenses by the other state.

Referee - A court appointed officer having the power to take testimony, hear arguments, and arbitrate disputes.

Release - A document relinquishing a claim or freeing one from an obligation or responsibility.

Remainderman - One who is entitled to an estate by gift or by bequest only after the termination of someone else's interest in that estate.

Rescind - To cancel or annul; to make no longer legally binding and to return the parties to a contract to a position of never having made the contract.

Resolution - A determination by court; the successful arbitration of a dispute.

Retainer - An initial, advance payment to an attorney to secure professional services and, occasionally as a matter of legal tactics, to secure an attorney's refusal to represent one's adversary in a case.

Revocable Living Trust - Opposite of Irrevocable Trust; a Trust in which the person creating it retains the power to change, revoke or cancel the Trust during his/her lifetime. This Trust is used primarily as a probate and guardianship avoidance tool.

Riparian Rights - The special rights of an owner whose land borders on rivers, streams, and other waterways. 

Run with the Land - A covenant is said to run with the land when it passes from one owner to the next with the title, such as restriction upon a particular use of the land or type of building to be constructed thereon.

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