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LEGAL TERMS

CONTINGENCY

A provision in a contract stating that some or all of the terms of the contract will be altered or voided by the occurrence of a specific event. For example, a ... (more...)
A provision in a contract stating that some or all of the terms of the contract will be altered or voided by the occurrence of a specific event. For example, a contingency in a contract for the purchase of a house might state that if the buyer does not approve the inspection report of the physical condition of the property, the buyer does not have to complete the purchase.

BALLOON PAYMENT

A large final payment due at the end of a loan, typically a home or car loan, to pay off the amount your monthly payments didn't cover. Many states prohibit bal... (more...)
A large final payment due at the end of a loan, typically a home or car loan, to pay off the amount your monthly payments didn't cover. Many states prohibit balloon payments in loans for goods or services that are primarily for personal, family or household use, or require the lender to let you refinance the balloon payment before forcing collection.

APPRECIATION

An increase in value. Appreciated property is property that has gone up in value since it was acquired.

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.

EXCLUSIVE LICENSE

A valid contract in which a copyright owner authorizes another person or entity (called the licensee) to exclusively exercise one or more of the rights (or port... (more...)
A valid contract in which a copyright owner authorizes another person or entity (called the licensee) to exclusively exercise one or more of the rights (or portion of such rights) that belong to the copyright owner under the copyright. The licensee is said to 'own' the rights granted in the license and is referred to as a copyright owner.

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.

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.)

HOMESTEAD DECLARATION

A form filed with the county recorder's office to put on record your right to a homestead exemption. In most states, the homestead exemption is automatic--that ... (more...)
A form filed with the county recorder's office to put on record your right to a homestead exemption. In most states, the homestead exemption is automatic--that is, you are not required to record a homestead declaration in order to claim the homestead exemption. A few states do require such a recording, however.

SEVERANCE PAY

Funds, usually amounting to one or two months' salary, frequently offered by employers to workers who are laid off. No law compels employers to provide severanc... (more...)
Funds, usually amounting to one or two months' salary, frequently offered by employers to workers who are laid off. No law compels employers to provide severance pay, although the employer may be legally obligated to do so if it was promised in a contract or employees' handbook.