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LEGAL TERMS

QUITCLAIM DEED

A deed that transfers whatever ownership interest the transferor has in a particular property. The deed does not guarantee anything about what is being transfer... (more...)
A deed that transfers whatever ownership interest the transferor has in a particular property. The deed does not guarantee anything about what is being transferred, however. For example, a divorcing husband may quitclaim his interest in certain real estate to his ex-wife, officially giving up any legal interest in the property. Compare grant deed.

ARBITRATION

A non-court procedure for resolving disputes using one or more neutral third parties -- called the arbitrator or arbitration panel. Arbitration uses rules of ev... (more...)
A non-court procedure for resolving disputes using one or more neutral third parties -- called the arbitrator or arbitration panel. Arbitration uses rules of evidence and procedure that are less formal than those followed in trial courts, which usually leads to a faster, less-expensive resolution. There are many types of arbitration in common use: Binding arbitration is similar to a court proceeding in that the arbitrator has the power to impose a decision, although this is sometimes limited by agreement -- for example, in 'hi-lo arbitration' the parties may agree in advance to a maximum and minimum award. In non-binding arbitration, the arbitrator can recommend but not impose a decision. Many contracts -- including those imposed on customers by many financial and healthcare organizations -- require mandatory arbitration in the event of a dispute. This may be reasonable when the arbitrator really is neutral, but is justifiably criticized when the large company that writes the contract is able to influence the choice of the arbitrator.

CONTRACT

A legally binding agreement involving two or more people or businesses (called parties) that sets forth what the parties will or will not do. Most contracts tha... (more...)
A legally binding agreement involving two or more people or businesses (called parties) that sets forth what the parties will or will not do. Most contracts that can be carried out within one year can be either oral or written. Major exceptions include contracts involving the ownership of real estate and commercial contracts for goods worth $500 or more, which must be in writing to be enforceable. (See statute of frauds.) A contract is formed when competent parties -- usually adults of sound mind or business entities -- mutually agree to provide each other some benefit (called consideration), such as a promise to pay money in exchange for a promise to deliver specified goods or services or the actual delivery of those goods and services. A contract normally requires one party to make a reasonably detailed offer to do something -- including, typically, the price, time for performance and other essential terms and conditions -- and the other to accept without significant change. For example, if I offer to sell you ten roses for $5 to be delivered next Thursday and you say 'It's a deal,' we've made a valid contract. On the other hand, if one party fails to offer something of benefit to the other, there is no contract. For example, if Maria promises to fix Josh's car, there is no contract unless Josh promises something in return for Maria's services.

EXECUTRIX

An old-fashioned term for a female executor--the person named in a will to handle the distribution of the deceased person's property. Now, whether male or femal... (more...)
An old-fashioned term for a female executor--the person named in a will to handle the distribution of the deceased person's property. Now, whether male or female, this person is called either the executor or the personal representative.

PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE (PMI)

Insurance that reimburses a mortgage lender if the buyer defaults on the loan and the foreclosure sale price is less than the amount owed the lender (the mortga... (more...)
Insurance that reimburses a mortgage lender if the buyer defaults on the loan and the foreclosure sale price is less than the amount owed the lender (the mortgage plus the costs of the sale). A home buyer who makes less than a 20% down payment may have to purchase PMI.

TESTAMENTARY DISPOSITION

Leaving property in a will.

DEEP LINK

A link from one website to another that bypasses the second website's home page and takes the user directly to an internal page on the site. For example, a deep... (more...)
A link from one website to another that bypasses the second website's home page and takes the user directly to an internal page on the site. For example, a deep link from Yahoo might take the user directly to a news article on a news site instead of linking to the home page of the site.

ADVERSE POSSESSION

A means by which one can legally take another's property without paying for it. The requirements for adversely possessing property vary between states, but usua... (more...)
A means by which one can legally take another's property without paying for it. The requirements for adversely possessing property vary between states, but usually include continuous and open use for a period of five or more years and paying taxes on the property in question.

ASYLUM

A legal status granted to an individual who is in the United States and fears political persecution if he or she is forced to return to their home country.