Dictionary of Law

property :: legal definition

Property - n. anything that is owned by a person or entity. Property is divided into two types: "real property," which is any interest in land, real estate, growing plants or the improvements on it, and "personal property" (sometimes called "personalty"), which is everything else. "Common property" is ownership by more than one person of the same possession. "Community property" is a form of joint ownership between husband and wife recognized in several states. "Separate property" is property owned by one spouse only in a community property state, or a married woman's sole ownership in some states. "Public property" refers to ownership by a governmental body such as the federal, state, county or city governments or their agencies (e.g. school or redevelopment districts). The government and the courts are obligated to protect property rights and to help clarify ownership.

See also: common property community property personal property personalty public property real property separate property and Related Law Terms ↓

Related Law Terms

abduction :: n. the criminal taking away of a person by persuas ... g of children. See also: kidnapping
abeyance :: 1) n. when the owner- ship of property has not bee ... 2) legal jargon for "undetermined."
abstract of judgment :: n. a written summary of a judgment which states ho ... aying the debt. See also: levy lien
abstract of title :: n. the written report on a title search which show ... e also: chain of title title report
account stated :: n. a statement between a creditor or the person to ... ending on the state. See also: debt
acknowledgment :: n. the section at the end of a document where a no ... me leases and various other papers.
administrative law :: n. the procedures created by administrative agenci ... judge Administrative Procedure Act
administrator :: n. the person appointed by the court to handle the ... e also: administer executor probate
adultery :: n. consensual sexual relations when one of the par ... s and grist for scandal newspapers.
adverse possession :: n. a means to acquire title to land through obviou ... o: possession prescriptive easement
advisory opinion :: n. an opinion stated by a judge or a court upon th ... o: actual controversy friendly suit
after-acquired property :: n. 1) personal or real property acquired by a debt ... lso: bankruptcy secured transaction
appurtenant :: adj. pertaining to something that attaches. In rea ... t. See also: easement real property
articles of incorporation :: n. the basic charter of a corporation which spells ... year's taxes. See also: corporation
assess :: v. to set a value on property, usually for the pur ... e place upon sale of real property.
assign :: 1) v. to transfer to another person any asset such ... en shows up in contracts and wills.
assume :: v. to take over the liability for a debt on a prom ... he assumption. See also: assumption
Attorney General :: n. in each state and the federal government the hi ... izenry. See also: Solicitor General
bankruptcy :: n. a federal system of statutes and courts which p ... y proceedings trustee in bankruptcy
Bill of Rights :: n. the first ten amendments to the federal Constit ... ved to the states or to the people.
carrier :: n. in general, any person or business which transp ... lso: common carrier private carrier
chain of title :: n. the succession of title ownership to real prope ... title conveyance foreclosure title
chattel :: n. an item of personal property which is movable, ... ments). See also: personal property
chattel mortgage :: n. an outmoded written document which made a chatt ... ed by the property. See also: UCC-1
civil :: adj. 1) that part of the law that encompasses busi ... also: civil liberties civil rights
claim :: 1) v. to make a demand for money, for property, or ... the government, it is lawsuit time.
claim against a governmental agency :: n. any time one believes he/she has a right to pay ... orter than other types of lawsuits.
collateral :: 1) n. property pledged to secure a loan or debt, u ... ral to the Colorado divorce action.
color of title :: n. the appearance of having title to personal or r ... rty based on this "color of title."
commingling :: n. the act of mixing the funds belonging to one pa ... rust accounts for funds of another.
common area :: n. in condominium and some cooperative housing pro ... tage of total store space occupied.
common law :: n. the traditional unwritten law of England, based ... plied without reference to statute.
common property :: n. 1) real property owned by "tenants in common," ... e, like parks and national forests.
community property :: n. property and profits received by a husband and ... and distribution separate property
condemn :: v. 1) for a public agency to determine that a buil ... condemnation action eminent domain
condemnation :: n. the legal process by which a governmental body ... eminent domain inverse condemnation
condemnation action :: n. a lawsuit brought by a public agency to acquire ... e also: condemnation eminent domain
condition subsequent :: n. 1) in a contract, a happening which terminates ... Dad Fauntleroy. See also: condition
condominium :: n. title to a unit of real property which, in real ... ium projects. See also: common area
confidential communication :: n. certain written communications which can be kep ... privilege privileged communication
conflict of interest :: n. a situation in which a person has a duty to mor ... a position adverse to the customer.
constructive notice :: n. a fiction that a person got notice even though ... personally. See also: constructive
consumer protection laws :: n. almost all states and the federal government ha ... rranty product liability securities
convey :: v. to transfer title (official ownership) to real ... ion conveyance deed grantee grantor
conveyance :: n. a generic term for any written document which t ... r Recorder of Deeds. See also: deed
copyright :: 1) n. the exclusive right of the author or creator ... plagiarism public domain trademark
corporation :: n. an organization formed with state governmental ... ation public corporation securities
cotenancy :: n. the situation when more than one person has an ... y by the entirety tenancy in common
count :: n. each separate statement in a complaint which st ... also: cause of action common counts
covenant :: 1) n. a promise in a written contract or a deed of ... o compete deed restrictive covenant
d.b.a. :: n. short for "doing business as," when a person or ... that is registered with the state.
dedication :: n. the giving of land by a private person or entit ... perty. See also: quiet title action
deed :: 1) n. the written document which transfers title ( ... veyance deed of trust warranty deed
demise :: 1) v. an old-fashioned expression meaning to lease ... r life. 3) n. death. 4) n. failure.
descent :: n. the rules of inheritance established by law in ... on inheritance intestate succession
devise :: 1) v. an old-fashioned word for giving real proper ... so: bequest gift legacy remise will
devisee :: n. a person who receives a gift of real property b ... will. See also: beneficiary legatee
disinherit :: v. to intentionally take actions to guarantee that ... rorem clause pretermitted heir will
divorce :: 1) n. the termination of a marriage by legal actio ... y separate property spousal support
domicile :: n. the place where a person has his/her permanent ... where its headquarters is located.
double jeopardy :: n. placing someone on trial a second time for an o ... that occurred thirty years earlier.
easement :: n. the right to use the real property of another f ... rstandings at the time of creation.
eminent domain :: n. the power of a governmental entity (federal, st ... ngs. See also: condemn condemnation
equal opportunity :: 1) n. a right supposedly guaranteed by both federa ... be so. See also: affirmative action
equal protection of the law :: n. the right of all persons to have the same acces ... laws." See also: due process of law
equity :: n. 1) a venerable group of rights and procedures t ... ry enjoin equitable injunction writ
escrow :: 1) n. a form of account held by an "escrow agent" ... w the deal." See also: escrow agent
estate :: n. 1) all that one owns in real estate and other a ... ife estate probate real estate will
exchange :: 1) v. to trade or barter property, goods and/or se ... ins tax. See also: delayed exchange
execution :: n. 1) the act of getting an officer of the court t ... so: death penalty writ of execution
extradition :: n. the surrender by one state or country of a pers ... ty. See also: fugitive from justice
fair comment :: n. a statement of opinion (no matter how ludicrous ... amation libel public figure slander
fictitious defendants :: n. when a party suing (plaintiff) is not sure if h ... are not permitted in federal cases.
foreclosure :: n. the system by which a party who has loaned mone ... ced sale mortgage notice of default
foreclosure sale :: n. the actual forced sale of real property at a pu ... dicial sale mortgage sheriff's sale
fraud :: n. the intentional use of deceit, a trick or some ... audulent conveyance intrinsic fraud
free and clear :: adj. referring to the ownership of real property u ... the title has no claim against it.
future interest :: n. a right to receive either real property or pers ... maturity (age 18) or upon marriage.
grace period :: n. a time stated in a contract in which a late pay ... the contract, i.e. your insurance.
grandfather clause :: n. 1) a clause in a statute or zoning ordinance (p ... Such laws are now unconstitutional.
grant deed :: n. the document which transfers title to real prop ... rant grantee grantor quitclaim deed
hearsay rule :: n. the basic rule that testimony or documents whic ... interest dying declaration hearsay
hit and run :: n. the crime of a driver of a vehicle who is invol ... , and then walks back to the scene.
home rule :: n. the power of a local city or county to set up i ... state funds for local improvements.
immunity :: n. exemption from penalties, payments or legal req ... ws. See also: governmental immunity
in personam :: adj. (in purr-soh-nam) from Latin for "directed to ... here. See also: in rem jurisdiction
incorporate :: v. 1) to obtain an official charter or articles of ... te by reference incorporation stock
indenture :: n. a type of real property deed in which two parti ... bind a person to work for another.
interest :: n. 1) any and all, partial or total right to prope ... nal property real property standing
interstate commerce :: n. commercial trade, business, movement of goods o ... and the I.C.C. may soon be history.
invasion of privacy :: n. the intrusion into the personal life of another ... randeis. See also: right to privacy
inverse condemnation :: n. the taking of property by a government agency w ... e also: condemnation eminent domain
invitee :: n. a person who comes onto another's property, pre ... ail employees. See also: negligence
joint tenancy :: n. a crucial relationship in the ownership of real ... ty property tenancy in common title
jurat :: (jur-at) n. Latin for "been sworn," the portion of ... wledgment declaration notary public
jurisdiction :: n. the authority given by law to a court to try ca ... Superior Court Supreme Court venue
jury :: n. one of the remarkable innovations of the Englis ... hallenge sequester venire voir dire
just compensation :: n. 1) in general a fair and reasonable amount of m ... ation make one whole quantum meruit
justice of the peace :: (JP) n. a judge who handles minor legal matters su ... ersons to qualify by taking a test.
land :: n. real property, real estate (and all that grows ... See also: real estate real property
law :: n. 1) any system of regulations to govern the cond ... um maritime law natural law statute
lease :: 1) n. a written agreement in which the owner of pr ... triple net lease unlawful detainer
leasehold :: n. the real estate which is the subject of a lease ... sehold. See also: condominium lease
legatee :: n. a person or organization receiving a gift of an ... eficiary devise devisee legacy will
leverage :: 1) n. the use of borrowed money to purchase real e ... e been created by risky leveraging.
libel :: 1) n. to publish in print (including pictures), wr ... libel per se public figure slander
lien :: n. any official claim or charge against property o ... ord's lien mechanic's lien mortgage
life estate :: n. the right to use or occupy real property for on ... hter, Sadie, will own the property.
lis pendens :: (lease pen-dense) n. Latin for "a suit pending," a ... ob can be penalized by court order.
literary property :: n. the writings of an author which entitles him/he ... as copyrighted. See also: copyright
living will :: n. also called "a durable power of attorney," it i ... upport. See also: power of attorney
mandamus :: (man-dame-us) n. Latin for "we order," a writ (mor ... mandamus. See also: writ of mandate
marketable title :: n. the title to real property which has no encumbr ... e. See also: contract real property
mechanic's lien :: n. the right of a craftsman, laborer, supplier, ar ... ll sue for the debt. See also: lien
merger :: n. 1) in corporate law, the joining together of tw ... and taking one, and wife the other.
mortgage :: n. a document in which the owner pledges his/her/i ... losure notice of default trust deed
murder :: n. the killing of a human being by a sane person, ... premeditation second degree murder
negligence :: n. failure to exercise the care toward others whic ... gence per se res ipsa loquitur tort
no fault insurance :: n: a type of automobile insurance required of car ... ling lawsuits. See also: negligence
nominal party :: n. a defendant or a plaintiff included in a lawsui ... ed. See also: necessary party party
not guilty :: n. 1) plea of a person who claims not to have comm ... t guilty by reason of insanity plea
notary public :: n. a person authorized by the state in which the p ... he state which appoints the notary.
notice :: n. 1) information, usually in writing in all legal ... Thirty-day notice three-day notice
notorious possession :: n. occupation of real property or holding personal ... e is as if the person is the owner.
nuisance :: n. the unreasonable, unwarranted and/or unlawful u ... evening). See also: public nuisance
operation of law :: n. a change or transfer which occurs automatically ... atically upon the child turning 18.
pardon :: 1) v. to use the executive power of a Governor or ... also: amnesty commutation reprieve
personal effects :: n. things which include clothes, cosmetics and ite ... e, Susannah"). See also: personalty
personalty :: n. movable assets (things, including animals) whic ... lso: personal effects real property
petition :: 1) n. a formal written request to a court for an o ... dent. See also: divorce motion writ
pledge :: v. to deposit personal property as security for a ... ise to do something. See also: pawn
possession :: n. 1) any article, object, asset or property which ... ctive possession. See also: possess
possessory interest :: n. in real estate, the intent and right of a perso ... o: possess possession real property
possibility of a reverter :: n. the potential that the title to a real property ... further issue. See also: reversion
pour over will :: n. a will of a person who has already executed a t ... invalid trust. See also: trust will
power of attorney :: n. a written document signed by a person giving an ... y, as in a real estate transaction.
premises :: n. 1) in real estate, land and the improvements on ... t). See also: real estate structure
private road :: n. a road or driveway on privately owned property, ... ng. See also: prescriptive easement
privileges and immunities :: n. the fundamental rights that people enjoy in fre ... t impinge on constitutional rights.
promissory note :: n. a written promise by a person (variously called ... lso: interest obligee obligor usury
property damage :: n. injury to real or personal property through ano ... l value. See also: damages property
property tax :: n. an annual governmental tax on real property or ... are made. See also: ad valorem tax
public :: 1) n. the people of the nation, state, county, dis ... lands and public and private roads.
public defender :: n. an elected or appointed public official (usuall ... to convicted indigents for appeals.
public use :: n. the only purpose for which private property can ... e also: condemnation eminent domain
public utility :: n. any organization which provides services to the ... nder state laws. See also: monopoly
quasi community property :: n. in community property states, property acquired ... : community property palimony quasi
qui tam action :: : (kwee tam) n. from Latin for "who as well," a la ... technical violations and/or errors.
quiet title action :: n. a lawsuit to establish a party's title to real ... opposition. See also: notice title
real estate :: n. land, improvements and buildings thereon, inclu ... the future. See also: real property
real estate investment trust :: n. nicknamed REIT, a real estate investment organi ... its upon sale-if there is a profit.
real party in interest :: n. the person or entity who will benefit from a la ... st is the beneficiary of the trust.
real property :: n. 1) all land, structures, firmly attached and in ... onal property real estate reversion
reconveyance :: n. in those states which use deeds of trust as a m ... conveyance. See also: deed of trust
regulations :: n. rules and administrative codes issued by govern ... es usually have similar procedures.
remainder :: n. in real property law, the interest in real prop ... ed reversion title vested remainder
reversion :: n. in real property, the return to the grantor or ... lled "reverter." See also: reverter
self-defense :: n. the use of reasonable force to protect oneself ... ndalism. See also: assault homicide
sentence :: 1) n. the punishment given to a person convicted o ... ence restitution suspended sentence
separate property :: n. in community property states (California, Texas ... pouse. See also: community property
service of process :: n. the delivery of copies of legal documents such ... by publication substituted service
shield laws :: n. statutes enacted in some states which declare t ... See also: privileged communication
state action :: n. in federal Civil Rights Acts, dating back to 18 ... for damages. See also: civil rights
state of domicile :: n. the state in which a person has his/her permane ... orated. See also: domicile resident
statute of limitations :: n. a law which sets the maximum period which one c ... ies. See also: demurrer laches toll
straw man :: n. 1) a person to whom title to property or a busi ... a trail will mislead hunting dogs).
substituted service :: n. accomplishing service (delivery) of legal docum ... ee also: service service of process
tax :: n. a governmental assessment (charge) upon propert ... unified estate and gift tax use tax
tenancy by the entirety :: n. joint ownership of title by husband and wife, i ... ee also: community property tenancy
tenancy in common :: n. title to property (usually real property, but i ... on. See also: joint tenancy tenancy
theft :: n. the generic term for all crimes in which a pers ... rglary embezzlement larceny robbery
title :: n. 1) ownership of real property or personal prope ... ink slip real property title search
title report :: n. the written analysis of the status of title to ... lso: abstract title title insurance
transfer :: n. 1) the movement of property from one person or ... son or shipment to continue travel.
undivided interest :: n. title to real property held by two or more pers ... y by the entirety tenancy in common
unlawful detainer :: n. 1) keeping possession of real property without ... Thirty-day notice three-day notice
use :: n. the right to enjoy the benefits of real propert ... ay it is only of academic interest.
venue :: n. 1) the proper or most convenient location for t ... ion. See also: forum non conveniens
will :: n. a written document which leaves the estate of t ... will and testament probate testator

Popular Law Searches

legal definition ministerial act :: n. an act, particularly of a governmental employee ... exercising any individual judgment.
chancery legal definition :: n. a court that can order acts performed. Today ch ... ts in most states. See also: equity
testamentary disposition legal definition :: n. how the terms of a will divide the testator's ( ... named beneficiaries. See also: will
contract of sufferance :: n. a "hold-over" tenancy after a lease has expired ... y tenancy at will unlawful detainer
forthwith legal definition :: adv. a term found in contracts, court orders and s ... mediacy, with no excuses for delay.
forthwith definition legal :: adv. a term found in contracts, court orders and s ... mediacy, with no excuses for delay.
what is to wit in a legal contract :: prep. that is to say. Example: "the passengers in ... tty Bumgartner and Sherry Younger."
mirror wills legal definition :: n. the wills of a husband and wife which are ident ... d each names the other as executor.
clean hands doctrine latin :: n. a rule of law that a person coming to court wit ... ices. See also: affirmative defense
sine qua non only relates to contract law :: (see-nay kwah nahn) prep. Latin for "without which ... qua non of the injury to Playmate.

Other Law Terms - P

paid into court :: adj. referring to money deposited with the clerk o ... differences. See also: interpleader
pain and suffering :: n. the physical and mental distress suffered from ... l damages special damages suffering
palimony :: n. a substitute for alimony in cases in which the ... the relationship. See also: alimony
pander :: 1) v. to solicit customers for a prostitute. 2) n. ... ons or favors. See also: prostitute
panderer :: n. 1) a person who panders or solicits for a prost ... special interests. See also: pander
panel :: n. the list of people selected to appear for jury ... or jury duty. See also: jury venire
paper hanger :: n. slang for a person who criminally writes and ca ... ey in them. See also: forgery fraud
par :: n. 1) an equal level. 2) the face value of a stock ... common stock preferred stock stock
paralegal :: n. a non-lawyer who performs routine tasks requiri ... h less than that for the attorneys.
paramount title :: n. a right to real property which prevails over an ... n's claim of title. See also: title
parcel :: n. a defined piece of real estate, usually resulti ... See also: real estate real property
pardon :: 1) v. to use the executive power of a Governor or ... also: amnesty commutation reprieve
parens patriae :: (paa-rens pat-tree-eye) n. Latin for "father of hi ... pport custody divorce guardian ward
parent :: n. the lawful and natural father or mother of a pe ... natural parent. See also: adoption
parental neglect :: n. a crime consisting of acts or omissions of a pa ... usive or sexually predatory person.
pari delicto :: adj. equal fault. See also: in pari delicto ... al fault. See also: in pari delicto
parish :: n. 1) a geographic area served by a church (partic ... overnmental equivalent of a county.
parody :: n. the humorous use of an existing song, play, or ... l significance. See also: copyright
parol :: adj. oral. See also: parol evidence rule ... oral. See also: parol evidence rule
parol evidence rule :: n. if there is evidence in writing (such as a sign ... or contradict the written document.