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LEGAL TERMS

RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP

The right of a surviving joint tenant to take ownership of a deceased joint tenant's share of the property. See joint tenancy.

CONSIDERATION

The basis of a contract. Consideration is a benefit or right for which the parties to a contract must bargain; the contract is founded on an exchange of one for... (more...)
The basis of a contract. Consideration is a benefit or right for which the parties to a contract must bargain; the contract is founded on an exchange of one form of consideration for another. Consideration may be a promise to perform a certain act -- for example, a promise to fix a leaky roof -- or a promise not to do something, such as build a second story on a house that will block the neighbor's view. Whatever its particulars, consideration must be something of value to the people who are making the contract.

INCIDENTS OF OWNERSHIP

Any control over property. If you give away property but keep an incident of ownership--for example, you give away an apartment building but retain the right to... (more...)
Any control over property. If you give away property but keep an incident of ownership--for example, you give away an apartment building but retain the right to receive rent--then legally, no gift has been made. This distinction can be important if you're making large gifts to reduce your eventual estate tax.

BOND

(1) A written agreement purchased from a bonding company that guarantees a person will properly carry out a specific act, such as managing funds, showing up in ... (more...)
(1) A written agreement purchased from a bonding company that guarantees a person will properly carry out a specific act, such as managing funds, showing up in court, providing good title to a piece of real estate or completing a construction project. If the person who purchased the bond fails at his or her task, the bonding company will pay the aggrieved party an amount up to the value of the bond. (2) An interest-bearing document issued by a government or company as evidence of a debt. A bond provides pre-determined payments at a set date to the bond holder. Bonds may be 'registered' bonds, which provide payment to the bond holder whose name is recorded with the issuer and appears on the bond certificate, or 'bearer' bonds, which provide payments to whomever holds the bond in-hand.

INDISPENSABLE PARTY

A person or entity (such as a corporation) that must be included in a lawsuit in order for the court to render a final judgment that will be just to everyone co... (more...)
A person or entity (such as a corporation) that must be included in a lawsuit in order for the court to render a final judgment that will be just to everyone concerned. For example, if a person sues his neighbors to force them to prune a tree that poses a danger to his house, he must name all owners of the neighboring property in the suit.

FRIENDLY SUIT

A lawsuit brought by two parties, not as adversaries, but as collaborators in order to resolve a legal question that affects them both. For example, two compani... (more...)
A lawsuit brought by two parties, not as adversaries, but as collaborators in order to resolve a legal question that affects them both. For example, two companies might bring a friendly suit to court in order to clarify a legal interpretation of a contract between them.

CO-TENANTS

Two or more tenants who rent the same property under the same lease or rental agreement. Each co-tenant is 100% responsible for carrying out the rental agreemen... (more...)
Two or more tenants who rent the same property under the same lease or rental agreement. Each co-tenant is 100% responsible for carrying out the rental agreement, which includes paying the entire rent if the other tenant skips town and paying for damage caused by the other tenant.

EVICTION

Removal of a tenant from rental property by a law enforcement officer. First, the landlord must file and win an eviction lawsuit, also known as an 'unlawful det... (more...)
Removal of a tenant from rental property by a law enforcement officer. First, the landlord must file and win an eviction lawsuit, also known as an 'unlawful detainer.'

SUBSTITUTED SERVICE

A method for the formal delivery of court papers that takes the place of personal service. Personal service means that the papers are placed directly into the h... (more...)
A method for the formal delivery of court papers that takes the place of personal service. Personal service means that the papers are placed directly into the hands of the person to be served. Substituted service, on the other hand, may be accomplished by leaving the documents with a designated agent, with another adult in the recipient's home, with the recipient's manager at work or by posting a notice in a prominent place and then using certified mail to send copies of the documents to the recipient.