Encumbrance. An encumbrance is a claim or interest against property-- such as a lien, mortgage, easement or lease -- that makes the property less valuable, but does not prevent it from being transferred to another owner.
Excited utterance. Statements that are considered hearsay are usually not admissible as evidence in court. However, an "excited utterance" is an exception to this rule, allowing a hearsay statement to be admissible if it is made by a person under the stress caused by a startling event -- such as an auto accident -- concerning the event.
If you need help with defining a legal word or phrase, check out FindLaw's Legal Dictionary for free access to more than 8,000 definitions of legal terms. And check back here next Sunday, when Legalese From A to Z will define and clarify five more legal terms, beginning with the letter "F."