In general, a person or thing that is more important than others when identified for a particular purpose. More specifically, in various contexts:
1. Someone who authorizes another to act in his or her place. See Agent, Fiduciary, and Fiduciary duty.
2. The basic amount of a debt or investment - which excludes any interest, profits, or other additional earnings on the basic underlying amount.
3. Someone with primary responsibility to perform an obligation. See Surety.
4. The corpus of a trust, which is composed of the assets funding the trust.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
1) In commercial law, the total amount of a loan, not including any capitalized fees or interest. 2) When creating a power of attorney or other legal document, the person who appoints an attorney-in-fact or agent to act on his or her behalf. 3) In the law of trusts, the property of the trust, as opposed to the income generated by that property. The principal is also known as the trust corpus (that's Latin for "body"). 4) In criminal law, the main perpetrator of a crime.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:22 pm