You probably know a number of legal terms that begin with the letter "T": trial, transcript, and trespass, just to name few. But what about tenancy by the entirety? Or when was the last time you invoked an action for trover? If you're scratching your head, don't worry. These terms are prime examples of legalese, the unique language used by those who work in the legal field.
Each week, we pick a letter of the alphabet and break out five legal words or phrases worth knowing for our series, Legalese From A to Z. This week, we take a closer look at five legal terms that start with the letter "T":
Testamentary capacity. One of the requirements for executing a valid will, testamentary capacity is the ability to understand both the nature and extent of one's property and the way in which it is being disposed of, including to whom the property is being given. Lack of testamentary capacity is one of the reasons a will may be challenged.
Tort. A tort sounds more like something you'd find on your plate than in court. But tort cases actually make up a great deal of the non-criminal cases that end up in court. A tort is a personal injury caused by a civil wrong such as negligence, defamation, a slip-and-fall injury, an animal attack, or a car accident, to name a few.
Transmutation. Although laws vary by state, property owned by married couples is typically either an individual spouse's separate property, or marital property owned jointly by both spouses (also called community property in some states). Transmutation allows property that is separate property to be converted into marital or community property, either by agreement of the spouses or by the use of community property money to maintain or improve the separate property. Transmutations can also work the other way, converting community or marital property into one spouse's separate property.
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. In next week's Legalese From A to Z, we'll check out five more legal terms you may not know, beginning with the letter "U."