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LEGAL TERMS

INVITEE

A business guest, or someone who enters property held open to members of the public, such as a visitor to a museum. Property owners must protect invitees from d... (more...)
A business guest, or someone who enters property held open to members of the public, such as a visitor to a museum. Property owners must protect invitees from dangers on the property. In an example of the perversion of legalese, social guests that you invite into your home are called 'licensees.'

PROPERTY

See personal property, real estate, community property, separate property.

ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE

A paperless method of entering into an electronic contract. To 'sign' a contract electronically, a person may be asked to click an 'I Accept' button or use a 'k... (more...)
A paperless method of entering into an electronic contract. To 'sign' a contract electronically, a person may be asked to click an 'I Accept' button or use a 'key' to encrypt (scramble) information that uniquely identifies the signer using a method called Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). Electronic signatures are as binding as those in ink.

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR

A legal category of worker defined by the Internal Revenue Service. The key to the definition is that, unlike employees, independent contractors retain control ... (more...)
A legal category of worker defined by the Internal Revenue Service. The key to the definition is that, unlike employees, independent contractors retain control over how the work they are hired to do gets done; the person or company paying the independent contractor controls only the outcome--the product or service.

DOWN PAYMENT

A lump sum cash payment paid by a buyer when he or she purchases a major piece of property, such as a car or house. The buyer typically takes out a loan for the... (more...)
A lump sum cash payment paid by a buyer when he or she purchases a major piece of property, such as a car or house. The buyer typically takes out a loan for the balance remaining, and pays it off in monthly installments over time.

DIVIDEND

A portion of profits distributed by a corporation to its shareholders based on the type of stock and number of shares owned. Dividends are usually paid in cash,... (more...)
A portion of profits distributed by a corporation to its shareholders based on the type of stock and number of shares owned. Dividends are usually paid in cash, though they may also be paid in the form of additional shares of stock or other property. The amount of a dividend is established by the corporation's board of directors; however, state laws often restrict a corporation's ability to declare dividends by requiring a minimum level of profits or assets before the dividend can be approved.

MEMORANDUM

(1) An informal written document. A memorandum may be used in any number of circumstances, but most lawyers are best acquainted with the interoffice memorandum-... (more...)
(1) An informal written document. A memorandum may be used in any number of circumstances, but most lawyers are best acquainted with the interoffice memorandum--a document prepared by a junior associate in a law office or a judge's law clerk outlining the facts, procedural elements and legal arguments involved in a particular legal matter. These memos are reviewed by senior lawyers and judges who use them to decide how to proceed with the case. (2) Any written record, including a letter or note, that proves that a contract exists between two parties. This type of memo may be enough to validate an oral (spoken) contract that would otherwise be unenforceable because of the statute of frauds. (Under the statute of frauds, an oral contract is invalid if it can't be completed within one year from the date the contract is made.)

ESCHEAT

The forfeit of all property to the state when a person dies without heirs.

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.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

PEOPLE'S COUNSEL FOR BALTIMORE CTY. v. Loyola College

... The synthesis of earlier cases threaded 168 through its reasoning supplies a lucid explanation of the legislative calculus for why some land uses, at the time of original adoption or later amendment of the text of a zoning ordinance, are placed in the blessed category of permitted ...

Anderson House v. City of Rockville

... in consolidated cases 266338-V, Petition of Anderson House, LLC for Judicial Review of the Decision of the Mayor and Council of Rockville in the case of Zoning Map Amendment XXXX-XXXXX, and 270350-V, Anderson House, LLC v. Mayor and City Council of Rockville. ...

Trail v. Terrapin Run

... Certiorari: "May a board of appeals deriving zoning authority under Article 66B grant a special exception, in the absence of an affirmative finding that the proposed use conforms to the jurisdiction's comprehensive plan?" [2]. We ...