FNTIC Title Dictionary

Terms and Phrases is Fidelity National Title's Glossary of definitions, meanings, and descriptions of significance for some of our industry's most often used terms and phrases.

A Priori
From the past. From what goes before. Used in legal writing to indicate a cause and effect relationship.
A.L.T.A.
American Land Title Association.
Ab Initio
From the beginning.
Ab Initio Mundi
From the beginning of the world.
Abandonment
The surrender, relinquishment, disclaimer, or cession of property or of rights to property.
Abatement
To put an end to.
Abstract
A brief summary.
Abstract of Judgment
A brief transcript of the essentials of a judgment.
Abstract of Title
A summary of the conveyances, transfers and other facts appearing of record and relied upon as evidence of title to real property.
Abutting
Touching or bordering a street, highway, or other public place.
Acceleration Clause
A clause in a note, trust deed, or mortgage advancing or hastening the date of maturity of the indebtedness or obligation upon the happening of a certain event.
Access Right
A landowner’s right to have ingress to and egress from the property to a public street.
Accession
Addition to property by natural increase or growth or by installation of improvements.
Accommodation
An obligation assumed without consideration.
Accommodation Party
A person who signs a promissory note without receiving value.
Accommodation Recording
The recordation of an instrument without consideration and without assumption of responsibility for correctness or validity.
Accretion
A process by which land on a shore or riverbank increases gradually by the deposit of sand or soil upon the shore or riverbank.
Accrual
The growing or adding to.
Acknowledgment
A formal declaration before a duly authorized officer by a person who has executed an instrument that such execution is his or her act and deed.
Action
An ordinary proceeding in a court of justice by which one party prosecutes another for the enforcement or protection of a right; the redress or prevention of a wrong; or, the punishment of a public offense.
Action in Personam
An action in which judgment is sought against a person.
Action in Rem
An action in which judgment is sought against property to determine its status.
Actual Notice
Notice in fact or in reality to or by a party directly and personally.
Ad
At; to; before; near; for; of; until; within.
Ad Curiam
Before the court; to the court.
Ad Litem
During the pendency of the action or proceeding.
Ad Valorem
According to value.
Adjoining Owners
Owners of two or more parcels of real property that are contiguous to each other.
Adjudication
A judicial determination.
Administrator
Personal representative of the estate of an intestate decedent.
Administrator C.T.A.
An administrator with will annexed. The letters C.T.A. mean "cum testa-mento annexo" and are derived from Latin. If administration is granted but the decedent has made an incomplete will without naming executor(s) or if decedent names incapable persons or if executor(s) refuses to act, the administrator is an ’Administrator C.T.A.’
Administratrix
A woman administrator.
Advances
Money paid before proper time of payment.
Adverse Possession
Claim of ownership of property based upon open and hostile possession and occupancy.
Affiant
A person who has made an affidavit.
Affidavit
A written declaration under oath.
Affirmation
A declaration in writing under penalty of perjury.
After-Acquired Title
Title accepted by a grantor after his or her previous conveyance.
Agency
A relationship between two or more persons whereby one is authorized to act for another.
Agreement of Sale
An agreement entered into for the sale and purchase of property.
AKA
Also Known As
Alcalde
Spanish for mayor or chief magistrate.
Alienate
To transfer title to property.
Alienation
The transfer of title to property.
Alienation Clause
Provision in a note or in a security instrument calling for automatic maturity in the event of sale or transfer of title by borrower.
Aliter
Otherwise.
Allegation
A statement of fact in a pleading yet to be proved.
All-Inclusive Deed of Trust
A deed of trust securing payment of an obligation owing under a prior deed of trust.
Alluvion
Soil deposited by the process of accretion.
Amortization
Payment of principal and interest at stated periods for a stated time until debt is extinguished.
Ancillary
An addition to.
Ancillary Administration
Probate estate administration in a state other than the state of decedent’s domicile.
Annexation
Addition to property or to territory.
Annuity
A yearly payment of money for life or for a term of years.
Annum
Year.
Ante
Before.
Antenuptial
Before marriage.
Appearance
Presence of a party litigant before the court.
Appraisal
Statement of value.
Appraiser
A person qualified to determine property value.
Appurtenance
Anything incidental to or belonging to land considered a part of the real property.
Appurtenant
Belonging to.
Arbitrary (ARB) Map
A map made by a title company for its own convenience in identifying parcels of real property.
Assessed Value
Value of property for taxation purposes.
Assessments
Special taxes imposed to pay for public improvements beneficial to a limited area.
Assessor
County official who determines value of property for taxation purposes.
Assets
Property of value, property having an economic benefit.
Assign
To transfer all of an interest in personal property.
Assignee
One to whom property is assigned.
Assignor
One who transfers property by assignment.
Assumpsit
An undertaking to do an act or to make payment.
Assumption Agreement
An agreement to undertake a debt or obligation contracted by another.
Assumption Fee
The charge made by a lender when a buyer assumes seller’s existing loan.
Assumption of Mortgage
An agreement in which buyer agrees to be liable for payment of an existing note secured by a mortgage or deed of trust.
Attachment
A judicial process by which a creditor obtains a lien upon property of a debtor prior to adjudication of the debt.
Attestation Clause
The clause in a deed denoting the subscribing persons are witnesses.
Attorn
To accept and acknowledge a new landlord.
Attorney-In-Fact
An agent authorized to act for another.
Avulsion
Sudden tearing away of land by violent action of a river or other watercourse.
Ayuntamiento
Spanish for town council.
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