ABSTRACT: a brief statement of the main parts of a document.
ABSTRACT OF TITLE: a condensed history of the title of a piece of real
property, including any liabilities to which it may be subject.
ADMINISTRATOR: one legally authorized by the court to manage and settle
an estate when the deceased has not left a will and named and executor.
AFFINITY: a relationship by marriage, rather than by blood.
ANNO DOMINI: a Latin term meaning "in the year of our Lord".
APPURTENANCE: something that belongs to something else. Example: the
buildings on a piece of real property would be appurtenances.
APPRENTICE: a person, often a minor, bound (sometimes by law) to a
master for the purpose of learning a trade.
ARCHIVES: a place where records are kept.
ATTEST: to bear witness to something and affirm formally with your
signature that it is true.
BANNS: public announcement, especially in church, of intention to be
BENEFICIARY: a person for whose benefit a trust is created.
BEQUEATH: to give personal property by a will.
BEQUEST: a gift of personal property by a will.
CENSUS: a count of population which includes various kinds of
CERTIFIED COPY: a copy of a document signed and certified as a true
by the officer to whose custody the original was entrusted.
CHILD OF TENDER YEARS: a child under age 14.
CHRISTEN: to baptize an infant.
CODICIL: a P. S. to a will.
COLLATERAL: belonging to the same ancestral stock, but not in the
line of descent. (i.e. aunts, cousins, etc.)
CONSANGUINITY: a relationship by blood.
CONSORT: wife or husband of a living spouse.
CONVEYANCE: the granting of real property to another party.
DEED: a legal document that contains the record of transfer of real
property, or some other bargain or contract concerning the property.
DECEDENT: deceased person.
DESCENDANT: offspring to the furthest generation.
DEPONENT: person who gives evidence, especially in writing.
DEVISE: a gift of real property by will.
DEVISEE: a person to whom real property is given by will.
DOWER: the property to which a widow has claim upon the death of her
husband. (There is no dower in community property states.)
ESTATE: the total of a person's property, both real and personal.
ET AL: a Latin term meaning "and others".
ET UXOR: a Latin term meaning "and his wife".
EXECUTOR: a person appointed by a testator (person writing will) to
carry out the directions and bequests in the will. (female, EXECUTRIX)
GAZETTEER: a geographical dictionary.
GENEALOGY: an enumeration of the history of the descent of a family.
GRANT: a general term applicable to all transfers of real property.
GRANTEE: the person to whom a grant is made.
GRANTOR: the person by whom the grant is made.
HEIR: the person(s) who succeeds, by rules of law, to an estate upon
the death of his ancestor by right of relationship.
INDENTURE: a deed to which two or more persons are parties, and in
which these enter into reciprocal and corresponding grants or obligations
towards each other.
INFANT: a minor, a person not of full legal age. (This legal term does
not apply only to babes in arms.)
INTESTATE: a person dies without a will.
ISSUE: all lineal descendants of a common ancestor are his issue--not
just his children.
LEGACY: a bequest or gift of personal property by last will and
LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION: often known as ADMON. The instrument
the probate court appoints someone to administer an estate of a person
died without leaving a will.
LINEAL: being in direct line of ancestry.
MARRIAGE LICENSE: a license whereby permission is granted by a public
authority for persons to be married.
MORTGAGE: conditional transfer of title to property, as security for
payment of debt.
NUNCUPATIVE WILL: a will which depends merely upon oral evidence,
been dictated or declared by the testator in his last sickness before a
sufficient number of witnesses, and afterward written down.
PEDIGREE: recorded ancestry or line of descent...often in chart form.
POWER OF ATTORNEY: When a person isn't able to act for himself and
appoints another to act for him, the document by which he does so is
a "power of attorney" or "letter of attorney". The person appointed
"attorney in fact".
PRESENTS: means literally "this document or instrument". The phrase
these presents" is used to refer to the document or instrument in which
the phrase occurs.
PROBATE: the act or process of proving a will. Also used as an
inclusive term referring to all matters under the jurisdiction of the
PROGENITOR: an ancestor in the direct line.
QUITCLAIM DEED: an instrument by which a person releases all title,
interest, or claim which he may possess in real property without making
a warrants thereto.
RELICT: a widow or widower, the surviving spouse.
TENANT: a person who possesses the lands by any right or title.
TESTABLE: capable of making a will.
TESTAMENTORY: pertaining to a will.
TESTATE: one who dies leaving a valid will.
TESTATOR: one who makes a will.
TO WIT: namely.
TRACT: a piece of land of any size.
TRANSCRIBE: to write a copy of.
TRUST DEED: This is a type of mortgage.
VITAL RECORDS: statistics relating to birth, death, marriage, etc.
WARRANTY DEED: a deed whereby the grantor warrants the title and should
the title become faulty for any reason, the grantor (or his heirs) can
be sued on the warranty.
WILL: a legal expression of a person's wishes as to the disposition of
his property after his death.
YOUNGER CHILDREN: all children not entitled by rights of the eldest
son--this includes daughters even though they may be older than the
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