property & real estate law

unqualified ownership

Unqualified ownership means having absolute ownership without any conditions or limitations.

[Last updated in October of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]

Unsecured debt

Unsecured debt refers to debt created without any collateral promised to the creditor. In many loans, like mortgages and car loans, the creditor has a right to take the property if payments are not made. Unsecured debt like credit cards or...


Use means to put into practice or to employ something. In a legal context, the most common meaning of the term “use,” is the right to enjoy the benefits of real estate or personal property (but primarily used in reference to real estate),...


Usufruct is the right to use and benefit from a property, while the ownership of which belongs to another person. The person who enjoys the usufruct is called the usufructuary. The usufructuary shall maintain the property as a responsible...


The Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) expanded on the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act allowing all kinds of property such as bonds, real estate, and art to be transferred to minors and was adopted by most states. UTMA allows the property to...


Uxor is a mostly antiquated term for wife. The Latin term appears mostly as et uxor or et ux. which mean “and wife” at the end of a case name or other legal document. For example, in the case Smith et uxor v. State, et uxor shows the wife’s...



1) Empty, unclaimed, and/or unoccupied real property.

2) An abandoned estate, i.e. an estate that has no heirs or claimants.

Illustrative caselaw

See, e.g. Simmons v. Saul, 138 U.S. 439 (1891).

See also

Abandoned property

vacant succession

Vacant succession refers to when no heirs to an estate can be found or those that are known predeceased the testator or rescinded their inheritance. Vacant succession typically refers to property being distributed under a will, not as an...

Valuable papers


In estates and trusts law, documents — in particular, wills — that are important in carrying out a decedent's wishes. In addition to wills, valuable papers include power of attorney forms, title documents, stock certificates, and letters to...



1) An officially granted exception to a zoning ordinance. Such exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis for some persuasive reason shown.

2) A difference between two statements or other pieces of evidence that usually would be...