property & real estate law


The sudden change of a body of water (often by a flood) that is serving as a property boundry. Under the Rule of Avulsion, the property line will remain at the previous location.

Compare to alluvion (a gradual change in the body of water that...


A 'bailment' is a non-ownership transfer of possession. Under English Common Law, the right to possess a thing is separate and distinct from owning the thing. In some jurisdictions, an owner of an object can steal his own property, a curious result of...



Bankruptcy law provides for the reduction or elimination of certain debts, and can provide a timeline for the repayment of nondischargeable debts over time. It also permits individuals and organizations to repay secured debt--typically debt...


Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionarySlang for maximum, as the most interest that can be charged on an adjustable rate promissory note.

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.

Capital Gains

Capital gain, for income tax purposes, is the gain realized from sale of capital assets. The difference between the original purchase price and the sale price is the gain realized. The tax on capital gains only occurs when an asset is sold or “...

Causa Mortis

A Latin term referring to the awareness that death is approaching. In property law, when a party, acting with awareness that their death is approaching, gives something to another party, the resulting gift is known as a gift causa mortis.

Caveat Emptor

Latin for "let the buyer beware." A doctrine that often places on buyers the burden to reasonably examine property before purchase and take responsibility for its condition. Especially applicable to items that are not covered under a strict warranty...


An Abbreviation for Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions

Certificate of Title

Document that may be used to establish the current owner of a particular piece of property.

Chain of Title

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryThe line of owners of real estate, stretching from the current owner back in time to the original grant from some government. The chain of title is shown by deeds, judgments in lawsuits over title,...