Cicio & Cicio Law Offices - Legal Definitions
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Call the Law Offices of Cicio & Cicio, P.C. for your free consultation and legal needs at 205-939-1327.
Phone: 205-939-1327
Fax: 205-939-1360

Administrator:  A person who is appointed by the Court to manage the estate of a person either who died without a Will or whose  Will failed to name an executor or named an executor who declined or was ineligible to serve.

Advance Directive:  A written statement of a personís wishes regarding medical treatment.

Adverse Possession:
  The act of occupying real property in an open, continuous and notorious manner, under a claim of right, hostile to the interests of the true owner for a period of years.

  Any voluntary statement reduced to writing and sworn to or affirmed before a person legally authorized to administer an oath or affirmation; a sworn statement.

  One of the parties to an agency relationship who acts for and represents the other party who is known as the principal. 

Appeal:  The process by which a higher court is requested by a party to a lawsuit to review the decision of a lower court.

  A method of settling disputes by submitting a disagreement to a person or group of individuals for a decision instead of going to court.

  The value assigned to your home by a government tax assessor to determine property tax payments.

  Any property or right that is owned by a person or entity and has monetary value.

Attorney in Fact:  An agent authorized to act on behalf of another person, but not necessarily authorized to practice law.

Beneficiary:  A person who has inherited or is entitled to inherit under a Will or for whom property is held in trust.

Bequest:  A gift of personal property by a Will.

Cause of Action:  Circumstances that give a person the right to bring a lawsuit and to receive relief from a court.

Chain of Title:
  A list of successive owners of a parcel of land, beginning from the government, or original owner, to the person who currently owns the land.

  One who claims or makes a claim; plaintiff.

  An addition or supplement to a Will, which adds to or modifies the Will without replacing or revoking it. 

Compensation:  Payment for injury, loss, or otherwise depriving a person of something he/she is entitled to.

  The initial pleading in a civil action in which the plaintiff alleges a cause of action and asks that the wrong done to him be remedied by the Court.

Condemnation:  It is the legal process by which a governmental body exercises its right of "eminent domain" to acquire private property for public uses, such as redevelopment or highways.

A guardian/protector is appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs and/or daily life of another due to old age and/or physical or mental limitations.

Contingent Fee:  A fee for legal services calculated on the basis of an agreed-upon percentage of the amount of money recovered for the client by his attorney.

Conveyance:  The transferring of title to real property from one person to another.

  A legal term for a person who has died.

  Document by which real property or an interest in real property is conveyed from one person to another.

Defendant:  The person against whom an action/lawsuit is brought.

  The act of dividing up the assets of an estate or trust.

Due Process:
  Guarantee that all legal proceedings will be fair and that one will be given notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard.

Eminent Domain:  The power of the government to take private property for a public use or public purpose without the ownerís consent, if it pays just compensation.

  The property left by a Decedent.  The right, title and interest a person has in real or personal property, either tangible or intangible. 

Estate Planning:  Pre-Death arrangement of a personís property and estate best calculated to maximize the estate for the beneficiaries during and after the personís life.

  A person designated by a testator to carryout the directions and requests in the testatorís Will and to dispose of his/her property according to provisions of his/her Will.

  An individual in whom another has placed the utmost trust and confidence to manage and protect property or money.

Fiduciary Duty:  The duty to act loyally and honestly with respect to the interests of another.

Fixed Assets:
  Assets held or used on a long term basis such as land, buildings, furniture and fixtures, and equipment.

Health Care Proxy:  A legal document in which a person can appoint someone to make decisions about medical treatment in the event that he or she is no longer mentally competent or able to communicate.

Heir:  People who would inherit the estate of a deceased person by statutory law if the deceased died without a Will.

Inheritance:  Money, property, etc., that is received from someone when that person dies.

Irrevocable Trust:  A trust that cannot be modified or terminated without the permission of the beneficiary.

Intestate:  Pertaining to a person, or to the property of a person, who dies without leaving a valid Will.

Joint Tenancy:
  An estate in land or in personal property held by two or more persons jointly with equal rights to share in its enjoyment.

Last Will & Testament:
  An instrument by which a person makes a disposition of his/her property to take effect after his/her death.

Life Estate:
  An estate that exists as long as the person who owns or holds it is alive. 

Litigation:  A legal action; a lawsuit.

Living Will:
  A legal document that a person uses to make known his or her wishes regarding life prolonging medical treatments.

Mediation:  The voluntary resolution of a dispute in an amicable manner.

  The principle that a party who has suffered loss (from a tort or breach of contract) has to take reasonable action to minimize the amount of the loss suffered.

  The failure to do something that a reasonable person would do in the same circumstances or the doing of something a reasonable person would not do.

Out-of-Court Settlement:  A resolution between disputing parties about a legal case, reached either before or after court action begins.

Personal Representative:
  A person whose job it is to manage the affairs of another under authority of a power of attorney, or due to the death, incompetency, or infancy of the principal party, as in the executor of a Will or Guardian Ad Litem.

Plaintiff:  A person who brings a lawsuit.

Power of Attorney:
  A written instrument by which a person appoints another as his/her agent or attorney in fact and confers upon him/her the authority to perform certain acts. 

Probate:  The judicial act whereby a Will is adjudicated to be valid.

Probate Court:
  The Court that decides the legal validity of a person's Will and grants its approval, also known as granting probate, to the executor.

Property Tax:  An annual local governmental tax on real property or personal property based on a tax rate.

Quit Claim Deed:  A legal document in which one person transfers her interest in a piece of real estate to another person without making any guarantees of ownership.

Real Property:  Land, including things located on it or attached to it directly or indirectly.

Statutes of Limitations:
  Statutes prescribing the maximum period of time during which various types of actions/prosecutions can be brought after the occurrence of the injury or the offense.

  When a person has been required to pay a debt that should have been paid by another person.

  A Fiduciary relationship involving a trustee who holds trust property for the benefit or use of a beneficiary.  A trust is established by a person who wishes the beneficiary to receive the benefit to receive the benefit of the property but not outright ownership.

Trustee:  The person who holds the legal the legal title to trust property for the benefit of the beneficiary of the trust, with such powers and subject to such duties as are imposed by the terms of the trust and the law.

Undue Influence:
  Persuasion carried to the point of overpowering the Will, or such a control over the person in question as prevents him from acting intelligently, understanding and voluntarily and in effect destroys his/her and constrains him/her to do what he/she would not have done if such control had not been exercised.

Warranty Deed:  An instrument that transfers real property from one person to another and in which the grantor promises that title is good and clear of any claims.

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The following language is required pursuant to Rule 7.2, Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct. No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney/client relationship.