Definitions

Definitions to Common Legal Terms

Attorneys and legal professionals have many terms that are common to their practice. To help you better understand your documents, we have put together some of the more common term's definitions.

Estate Planning

Agent - An agent is a person who has been legally empowered to act on behalf of someone else or an entity.

Beneficiary - A person who benefits from a trust, will, or life insurance policy.

Fiduciary - A fiduciary is a legal or ethical relationship of trust with one or more other parties. Typically, fiduciaries care for assets for another person.

Trustee - Anindividual person or member of a board given powers of administration of property in trust with a legal obligation to administer it solely for the purposes specified.

Personal Representative - A personal representative is a person you place in charge of settling your estate. You ​will​ name this person in your last will and testament, although the court will appoint someone to handle your final affairs if you fail to leave a will.

Provisions - A clause providing for a particular matter in a legal instrument.

Settlor - A settlor is a person or entity that establishes a trust. 

Situs - Theplace to which, for purposes of legal jurisdiction or taxation, a property belongs.

Tangible Personal Property - Tangible personal property includes property that can be moved or touched. Examples include business equipment, furniture, and automobiles. Intangible personal property includes stocks, bonds, and intellectual property like copyrights and patents.

Testator - A male who has made a will or given a legacy.

Testatrix - A woman who has made a will or given a legacy.

Business Planning

Manager - The manager of the LLC is basically the director. The manager takes care of business operations and the hard decisions.

Member -  A member functions similarly to a stockholder of a corporation. The member is still an owner of the LLC but does not necessarily make the hard decisions in regard to its operations.

Registered Agent - A registered agent is simply a person or entity appointed to accept service of process and official mail on your behalf. You can appoint yourself, or in many states, you can also appoint your business to be its own registered agent.

Estate Administration

Attorney-in-Fact - An attorney-in-fact is a person who is authorized to perform business transactions on another person's behalf.

Bond - A borrower's obligation to pay a stated amount of money after a stated amount of time.

Capacity -  The ability of a person to effect a legal transaction. 

Certified Copy - A copy of a primary document that has on it an endorsement or certificate that it is a true copy of the primary document.

Conservator - A guardian or protector.

Contestant - One who disputes; an opponent; a litigant; a disputant.

Creditor - A person to whom a debt is owed.

Disbursements - Payments made from the estate to pay debts of the deceased, funeral bills, and all ongoing costs of administering the estate (funeral expenses, storage fees, and attorney's fees). 

Executor - An individual appointed to administer the last will and testament of a deceased person.

Executrix - The feminine form of the word “executor”

Intestate - Dying without a will

Letters of Administration - The document a probate court issues to the person appointed as administrator (personal representative) of the estate of someone who died without a will. 

Probate - The judicial process whereby a will is proven in a court of law and accepted as a valid public document which is the true last testament of the deceased, or whereby the estate is settled according to the laws of intestacy in the state of residence of the deceased at the time of death in the absence of a legal will.

Renunciation - Giving up a right, such as a right of inheritance, a gift under a will, or abandoning the right to collect a debt on a note. 

Writ of Execution - A court order that directs law enforcement personnel to take action in an attempt to satisfy a judgment won by the plaintiff.

Contracts

Arbitration - This type of clause establishes provisions that allow arbitrators to settle disputes surrounding the contract.

Breach - If one party doesn't follow a contract's agreed-upon terms, it is considered a breach.

Consideration - In order for a contract to be valid, there must be something of value promised in exchange for a specific service. This could include the consideration of money given for a service provided.

Guaranty - This agreement involves one party promising another party's loan obligation to a third party.

Indemnification - Also known as a hold harmless agreement, this clause states that the parties are agreeing to hold another party harmless and not involve them in future legal claims. Indemnification states you can't take legal action against the other party.