A person appointed by the court to handle the distribution of the property of a person who has died without a will, or died with a will that fails to name someone to act as executor.

Age Discrimination

When an employer treats an employee who is over 40 years old differently from younger employees, because of the age of the employee. Age discrimination can also happen to a person who is applying for a job.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

A federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and applicants who are 40 years old or over.

Alleged Incapacitated Person (AIP)

The person for whom a guardianship proceeding is brought.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

A federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and applicants who have a disability that is listed in the ADA, including disabilities that affect hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, and learning.


A legal action in which one spouse challenges the validity of the marriage on specific grounds and asks the court to declare the marriage void.

Articles of Incorporation

A document filed with the government in order to form a corporation, which generally includes the purpose of the corporation, its principal place of business, the names of the initial directors of the corporation, and any stock that will be issued.


When one person intentionally causes another person to believe that the person is in imminent danger of being the victim of harmful or offensive contact, but no physical contact actually occurs.


The immigration status that may be granted to a person who has been persecuted (or fears they will be persecuted) in their country of origin based on race, nationality, religion, and/or membership in a particular social group or for a particular political opinion. Also sometimes called “refugee status.”


When one person intentionally causes a harmful contact to another person, such as beating, tripping, pushing, stabbing, shooting, or otherwise injuring a person with a dangerous instrument.

Board of Directors

The group of individuals that are elected by the shareholders or members to manage a corporation or other organization.


A set of rules adopted by the shareholders or board of directors of a corporation that govern the operations of the corporation, such as procedures for electing a board of directors and holding meetings, and also set out the duties and powers of the corporation’s board of directors and officers.

Child Custody

The legal authority to make decisions affecting a child’s interests and the responsibility of taking care of the child.

Child Support

Payment made by one parent to the other parent resulting from a court order to enable children to maintain the same standard of living they enjoyed while their parents were living together.


A person who has full rights and responsibilities as a member of a nation. Citizenship can be based on birth, nationality of parents or successfully completing the necessary requirements.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

A law makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. This law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate applicants’ and employees’ sincerely held religious practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

Civil Service Employee

An employee who works for the federal, state, or local government.


Property you promise to a creditor in order to guarantee that you will pay the debt. If you fail to pay back the loan, your creditor can take the property instead.

Collective Bargaining Agreement

An agreement between an employer a labor union setting forth the terms of employment for employees who are members of that labor union, including terms regarding working conditions, wages, hours, vacation, health insurance benefits and other benefits.

Comparative Fault

When both the plaintiff and the defendant caused or contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries, the court will determine each party’s percentage of fault and then apportion the damage award based on that percentage.

Consensual Plan

An agreement to a plan of reorganization or liquidation of the debtor’s debts accepted by the creditors.


An exchange of something of value that is needed to form a contract. Usually, consideration is a promise to do something, such as pay money or perform a service, or a promise to not do something.

Contested Divorce

A contested case is one where the parties cannot agree on issues such as property division, child custody and visitation, and child support and/or spousal support. A judge ultimately will decide the issues that are contested.

Contingency Fee

A method of paying an attorney in which the attorney receives a percentage of the money the client obtains after settling or winning the case, instead of taking an hourly fee or per job fee.


An agreement between two or more people or businesses (called parties) that sets forth what the parties will or will not do.


A business ownership structure that allows a business to be organized as a separate legal entity from its owners, who are shareholders of the corporation. In general, the corporation’s owners are not personally liable for most business debts.

Credit Bureau

(Also called a Credit Reporting Agency) Collects information about your credit history and sells it to other companies.

Credit Report

The history of your credit transactions prepared by the Credit Reporting Agency, including information about your loans, credit cards, and any liens or judgments against you.


A person or business that you owe a debt to.


The money awarded to one party in a lawsuit due to an injury or loss caused by the other party.


A person or business that owes a debt to a creditor.


A person who has died.


False accusations against, or statements about, another that are transmitted to a third party by written or spoken word that damages the reputation, character, or integrity of the other person.


The failure to pay a debt you owe or an obligation you agreed to pay, such as failing to pay your rent, or make the monthly payment on your car loan or mortgage.


A legal proceeding to decide if a person should be allowed to enter or remain in the United States. This is often called a removal proceeding.


An impairment of a person’s physical or psychological/mental condition.

Disability Discrimination

When an employer treats a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee or applicant unfavorably because the person has a disability or a history of a disability or is believed to have a physical or mental impairment.


Unfair or unequal treatment of a person or group based on certain protected characteristics, such as:  race, national origin or ethnicity, age, disability, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

Diversity Visa Program

A U.S. program in which people from countries that have sent the fewest immigrants to the U.S. in recent years, and who meet certain other requirements, can enter into a lottery program where the randomly-selected winners can apply for a green card. This is referred to as a “lottery.”


A legal action in which one or both spouses seek to have their marriage dissolved, which may be contested or uncontested.

Dram Shop Law

A law that prohibits the sale of alcohol to certain persons, such as a person who is actually or apparently under the age of 21 or who is visibly intoxicated.

Durable Power-of-Attorney

A document that allows a person to appoint someone to make financial, legal or other decisions if the person becomes incapacitated.

Duty of Care

The duty of a person or entity to act reasonably toward others.

Economic Damage

Past, present, and future medical bills that are related to a person’s injury; lost wages, if missing work was a result of the injury, or if the nature of the injury precludes the person from working in your specific profession.


A worker is considered an employee if the company or person for whom the work is done has the right to direct and control how the work is done, including the details of when, where, and how the work is to be performed.

Employer Identification Number

A nine-digit code that corporations and partnerships use to identify themselves for tax reporting, banking and other purposes.

Employment “At Will”

An employment arrangement in which the employer may fire the employee at any time and for any reason that is not illegal, and the employee can quit at any time and for any reason. The employer may not fire an at-will employee for discriminatory reasons, to retaliate against the employee for reporting harassment, or because the employee exercised a legal right.

Employment Contract

A written agreement, negotiated and signed by both employer and employee, which establishes the rights and obligations of each, along with the terms of employment, including salary, benefits, length of employment, reasons for termination, and assigning rules for resolving disputes between the employer and employee.

Estate Administration

The legal processes by which a person’s assets are distributed after death, either pursuant to a will (probate) or pursuant to the state laws of inheritance (administration).

Estate Planning

The documents that enable people to direct their personal and financial affairs in anticipation of the process of illness, aging, and dying.

Ethnic/National Origin Discrimination

Treating an employer or applicant unfavorably because the person is from a particular country or part of the world, because of ethnicity or accent, or because the person appears to be of a certain ethnic background (even if the person is not of that background).


A person responsible for initiating the probate proceeding of a person’s will after death, and for carrying out the wishes of the person as expressed in that person’s will.

Exempt Employee

An employee who is not entitled to extra pay for overtime hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which usually includes executives, administrative personnel, professionals and some computer workers; outside salespeople; employees of seasonal amusement or recreation parks; small newspapers and newspaper deliverers; announcers, news editors, and chief engineers at certain non-metropolitan broadcasting stations; movie theatre employees; and some securities brokers.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

A federal law that guarantees a worker’s right to be paid fairly. The FLSA sets out the federal minimum wage, states requirements for overtime, and places restrictions on child labor.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

A federal law that requires qualifying employers to provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious medical condition, or recover from a serious medical condition. At the end of the leave, the employer must allow the employee to return to the same or an equivalent position to that held before taking the leave.

Fee Award

When the court orders one party to pay the fees of the other party in a divorce proceedings, including the fees for attorneys, accountants, appraisers, and other experts.

Fees and Disbursements

Certain items an attorney working on a contingency fee basis pays for as the case proceeds, such as filing fees, expert witness fees, and amounts advanced for medical exams, tests, etc.

Fictitious Business Name

A name used by a business owner that is different from the owner’s name, also known as a DBA (doing business as). In order to operate under a fictitious business name, the owner must file a certificate with the government that allows others to discover the names of the business owner.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

FINRA is an independent, private regulator of securities firms doing business in the United States, whose mission is to protect investors by making sure the United States securities industry operates fairly and honestly.  

First-party Insurance Coverage

Insurance against damages or losses suffered by the policy holder.


To take a portion of a debtor’s wages or other funds in order to pay off a debt.

General Liability Insurance

A type of insurance that protects business owners from claims of injury, property damage, and other negligence related to the business.

General Partnership

A business ownership structure where two or more people join together to own and operate the business. Unlike the owners of a corporation, general partners are personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business.


A person (at least 18 years old), corporation or public agency appointed by a judge to manage (to the extent necessary) the personal needs and/or property of another person who is unable to manage for themselves.

Healthcare Proxy

A document that enables a person to appoint, in advance, another person who will make health care decisions for if the person becomes temporarily or permanently incapacitated (due to, for example, dementia, stroke or bad car accident) to such an extent that the person is unable to make those decisions.

Identity Theft

When someone wrongfully obtains your personal information and uses it for their own benefit.


Lacking the physical or mental abilities to manage your own personal care, property, or finances.

Independent Contractor

A worker is considered an independent contractor if the company or person for whom the work is done does not manage how the work gets done, except to approve the final results. Independent contractors are not considered employees.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED)

when a person, through extreme or outrageous behavior, intentionally causes severe emotional distress, mental trauma, and/or bodily harm to another.

Intentional Tort

A deliberate or purposeful act that causes harm to another, such as an assault or battery.


Dying without a valid will.

Irrevocable Living Trust

A permanent trust that cannot be revoked, amended, or changed in any way after it is created, except in limited circumstances.


A term meaning all of one’s children and the children’s children down through the generations, such children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.

Judgment of Separation

A decree issued by a court after the court determines that one of the four grounds for a “fault” divorce exist, including: cruel and inhumane treatment; abandonment for one or more years; imprisonment for three or more years; and adultery. One year after the judgment of separation, either spouse may sue for a “no-fault” divorce based on living separate and apart for one year.

Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA)

A federal law passed in 1947 in order to amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935 to address the influence of unions by prohibiting certain unfair labor practices by unions.

Lawful Permanent Residency

A person who is not a U.S. citizen but who has permission to live and work in the U.S. and who is given a “green card” to prove they have permission to work in the U.S.


The agreement between a landlord and a tenant, which contains information regarding the rental, such as the length of the lease, the amount of the rent, when the rent is due and where to send it.

Letters of Administration

A document the court issues to the person appointed as administrator or personal representative of the estate of someone who died without a will, which authorize the administrator to handle the person’s estate according to the intestate succession laws.


To take property to pay a debt or judgment.


A defamation that is written, such as in a newspaper, magazine or on the internet.


A legal claim against a debtor’s property that is security for repayment of a debt.

Limited Liability Company

A business ownership structure that is like a corporation for liability purposes, but is more like a partnership for tax purposes.

Living Trust

A trust that is set up during a person’s lifetime, usually in order to avoid probate at death and possible reduce estate taxes.

Living Will

A document that makes known a person’s wishes about whether and to what extent life-extending medical measures should be taken in the event the person has a terminal illness and is permanently incapacitated or unconscious.

Marital Agreement

A contract that spouses enter into before or during the course of a marriage, including a pre-nuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements, separation agreements and marital settlement agreements.

Marital Property

All property acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage and before the execution of a separation agreement or the commencement of a divorce action.

Marital Settlement Agreement

An agreement entered into upon divorce, also called a “stipulation of settlement,” which addresses issues such as property rights, spousal and child support obligations, custody arrangements, and all other rights and duties that might be decided in divorce court.


The joint federal and state program that provides medical care to people who cannot afford it, as well as to people who are permanently or chronically ill, injured, or disabled.

Medicaid Planning

A method of advance estate planning that can help a person become eligible for Medicaid and preserve assets, even if the person’s income and assets are too high to be eligible for Medicaid.

Minimum Wage

The lowest hourly wage rate an employer can pay to a nonexempt employee. Federal law and New York law set the minimum wage, and employees are entitled to whichever wage rate is higher.

Money Judgment

A money judgment is a court order that awards a party a sum of money, for example, unpaid rent.

Month-to-Month Tenancy

A rental agreement that provides for a one-month tenancy that automatically renews each month unless either tenant or landlord gives the other the proper amount of written notice (usually 30 days) to terminate the agreement. If there is no lease, or the lease has expired, the tenant has a month-to-month tenancy.

Mutual Assent

When two or more parties are in agreement.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

An independent federal agency that has the power to protect employees’ rights to organize and to decide if they want to have a union as their bargaining representative, and also acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices.

National Mediation Board (NMB)

A three-person board created in 1934 to resolve disputes between employees and employers in the railroad and airline industries that could disrupt travel or harm the economy.


The process for becoming a U.S. citizen after meeting all testing and residence requirements. A naturalized citizen basically has the same rights as a native-born U.S. citizen.


The failure to act with the level of care that a reasonable person would use under the same circumstances.

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED)

When a person’s negligent behavior causes mental distress to another person; in most cases, there must be physical harm in addition to mental harm for a plaintiff to recover.

New York Civil Service Law

A state law providing that civil service job offers and promotions must be based upon merit and that permanent civil service employment may not be terminated without a hearing.

New York Labor Law (NYLL)

A state law enacted to ensure the safety of workers in a variety of industries and situations, with special protections for workers in the construction industry.

New York State Workers’ Compensation Board

The government agency that protects the rights of employees and employers related to workers’ compensation benefits and promotes compliance with the workers’ compensation laws.

No-fault Divorce

When there has been irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for more than six months and all economic issues of equitable distribution of marital property, spousal support, payment of child support, the payment of counsel and experts fees and expenses, as well as the custody and visitation with the children of the marriage have been resolved by the parties or determined by court order.

No-fault Insurance

Car insurance laws that require the insurance companies of each person in an accident to pay for medical bills and lost wages of their insured, up to a certain amount, regardless of who was at fault.

Non Consensual Plan

A plan of reorganization or liquidation proposed by the debtor that is not agreed upon by the parties.

Non-compete Clause

A part of a contract between an employee and employer in which the employee promises not to work for a competitor or in a competing business during the employment period or after the employment ends, usually for a limited period of time.


An agreement between an employee and employer that restricts each party from making negative statements about the other party.

Non-economic Damage

Also called “pain and suffering,” the damages from an injury that result in a loss of enjoyment of life, as well as emotional distress suffered due to the injury.

Non-exempt Employee

An employee who is covered by overtime rules and other provisions of federal and state wage-and-hour laws.

Non-profit Corporation

An organization incorporated under state laws and approved by both the state’s secretary of state and its taxing authority as operating for educational, charitable, social, religious, civic, or humanitarian purposes.


An agreement between an employee and employer that restricts the employee from trying to take away the clients or employees of the employer.

Notice of Claim

A document that must be filed whenever a plaintiff wished to sue a government entity. There are short deadlines for filing, which vary depending on the government entity involved.

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA Act)

A federal law requires that an employer furnish a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.

Order for Relief

A voluntary petition that enables a debtor to obtain a discharge from all debts that arose before the date of the order of relief.

Permanently Partially Disabled

The level of disability when part of the employee’s wage-earning capacity is permanently lost.

Permanently Totally Disabled

The level of disability when the employee’s wage-earning capacity is permanently and totally lost.

Personal Injury

A physical injury to the body, as well as any injury to the emotions or mind, such as humiliation, embarrassment, or distress. Personal injury does not include an injury to property.

Personal Representative

The person designated to handle the affairs of a person after death, usually the executor of a will or the administrator of an estate.

Petition for Guardianship

A document filed with the court claiming another person is incapacitated and needs a guardian appointed to provide for the personal needs of the person, including food, clothing, shelter, health care, or safety and/or to manage the property and financial affairs of the person.

Post-Nuptial Agreement

An agreement between spouses, also called a “post-nup,” in which the spouses determine many lifestyle and financial issues, including how they will divide assets in the event of divorce or death of one spouse.

Power of Attorney

A contract in which a person appoints another person, who does not have to be an actual attorney, as the person’s agent, and grants that person the authority to make legal decisions and transactions on the person’s behalf without additional permission.

Pre-Nuptial Agreement

An agreement made by a couple before marriage, also called a “pre-nup” or a “premarital agreement,” in which the parties disclose their financial assets and determine certain financial issues, including how they will divide assets in the event of divorce or death, or other change of circumstances.

Pre-petition Debt

All qualifying debt prior to the filing of the bankruptcy petition.

Pregnancy Discrimination

Discrimination based on pregnancy related to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.

Premises Liability

A kind of civil lawsuit against a landowner, which claims that an unsafe condition on the landowner’s property caused an injury.


Payment for insurance coverage that is paid to the insurance company either in a lump sum or in installments.


The court process during which the estate (assets, property and possessions) of a person who has died with a will is settled and distributed to heirs and other people.

Product Liability

A kind of civil lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor, or seller of a product, which claims that a person was injured by a product that was either defective, not suitable for the use it was advertised for, or did not have adequate warnings.

Proofs of Claim

A claim form used by the creditor and filed with the bankruptcy court after the debtor files for bankruptcy stating the total amount of debt owed by the debtor to the creditor at the time of filing.

Property Rights

Upon divorce, the court determines the rights each spouse has to the property owned and makes an equitable property division, which is a property division that is fair, considering what each spouse contributed to the marriage and what each spouse will need to move forward after the divorce.

Protection Order

Order issued by a court that seeks to prevent harm to a person in need of protection from a spouse or parent.

Proximate Cause

The reason for an occurrence that caused harm to another person.

Public Housing

Rental housing for low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.

Qui Tam Action

A lawsuit filed by an individual, usually an employee, on behalf of the government as well as on the individual’s own behalf, which is usually based on legal violations involving fraudulent or criminal acts.  “Qui tam” is a Latin term meaning, “who as well.”

Race/Color Discrimination

Treating an employee or applicant unfavorably based on race or because of personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features). Color discrimination involves treating an employee or applicant unfavorably because of skin color complexion.

Railway Labor Act (RLA)

A federal law enacted in 1926, covering the railway industry and airline industry, and providing for the organization of employees in labor unions.  It is also designed to avoid or delay any interruption to commerce and transportation if there is a labor dispute.


The level of workers’ compensation benefits an injured worker is entitled to receive under the Workers’ Compensation Law.

Reasonable Accommodation

Any change in the work environment (or in the way things are usually done) in order to help a disabled employee or applicant perform the duties of a job, or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment, including making the workplace accessible for wheelchair users or providing a reader or interpreter for someone who is blind or hearing- impaired.


Behavior that is more than negligent and that demonstrates an indifference to consequences and a disregard for the safety of others.

Religious Discrimination

Treating an employee or applicant unfavorably based on the person’s religious beliefs. This law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical, or moral beliefs.


Housing that is governed by special rules that set limits on the amount of rent that can be charged and that limit the landlord’s ability to evict a tenant. Generally in rent-controlled housing, there was an initial lease some time before June, 1971 and there are no renewal leases.


Housing that is governed by special rules that limit the amount of rent a landlord can charge and gives the tenant certain other protections. In rent-stabilized housing, the tenant typically can renew the lease for a one- or two-year lease, and the landlord cannot deny a renewal except in very limited circumstances.


To take property back from the debtor when it has been used to secure a loan and the loan is not paid.

Restrictive Covenant

A contract clause, usually found in an employment contract, which prohibits a party from doing something. For instance, employees with special knowledge, training, or special ties to the customer base may be restricted from working for a competitor or in the same industry, starting a competing business, or soliciting the employer’s clients or customers for a period of time after the employment contract ends or is terminated.

Retainer Agreement

A contract between the attorney and client that specifies the ground rules of the attorney-client relationship, including stating what the lawyer is responsible for doing for the client and what the client is are responsible for doing to aid the lawyer, what fee arrangement has been made, and how the expenses will be handled.


Any negative job action, such as demotion, discipline, firing, salary reduction, or job/shift reassignment taken by an employer against an employee in response to the employee engaging in legally protected activity, such as making a complaint of harassment or participating in workplace investigations.

Revocable Trust

A trust set up during a person’s life that can be revoked at any time before death, usually used to avoid the cost and hassle of probate.

Sales Commission

Compensation based on a percentage of or some other amount based upon a salesperson’s orders or sales.

Secured Debt

Pledged property as collateral for a loan, for example home and car loans, that can be repossessed if you fail to pay the debt.

Security Interest

A claim that a creditor has against property that secures a debt.


A method by which an employer or group of employers can secure the payment of workers’ compensation benefits for its employees by depositing securities, cash, letters of credit, or a surety bond with the Workers’ Compensation Board.

Separate Property

Property that a spouse obtained before marriage, through inheritance, as a gift, or as a result of a personal injury lawsuit or settlement. It also includes property acquired in exchange for separate property and may include any increased value to separate property.

Separation Agreement

Agreement entered into without court intervention and voluntarily by two spouses who have decided to live separately and apart. As part of the agreement, the spouses may address and determine, without divorcing, issues including child support, child custody and visitation, spousal maintenance, division of property and assets, including the family house, if there is one.

Severance Agreement

An agreement between an employee and employer that describes the terms of a termination of employment, including the amount of severance pay the employee will receive.  May also be referred to as a “separation agreement.”

Sex Discrimination

Treating an employee or applicant unfavorably because of that person’s sex, or because of the person’s connection with an organization or group that is generally associated with people of a certain sex.

Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Treating an employee or applicant unfavorably based on that person’s real or perceived sexual orientation, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual.


An owner of a corporation, also called a “stockholder,” whose ownership interest is represented by shares of stock in the corporation and who has certain rights related to the operation of the corporation.

Single Asset Real Estate

A single property, other than for residential use by the owner, with less than four families and which generates substantially all of the gross income of the debtor (such as an investment property that someone owns and rents out to tenants).


A defamation that is orally published, such as in a speech, over the airwaves, or in casual conversation.

Slip/Trip and Fall

When a person is injured because a walking surface (interior floor or outside surface) contains a dangerous condition (water, ice, oil, soap, holes, cracks, other defects) that causes a person to slip or trip and then fall or get knocked off balance.

Sole Proprietorship

A business ownership structure where one person runs the business and is personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business.

Sovereign Immunity

A legal concept that says governmental bodies and employees are immune from being sued in their own courts without governmental consent.

Special Needs Trust

An express trust that establishes a fund for the benefit of a person suffering from a severe and chronic or persistent disability. Also called a “supplemental needs trust.”

Special Partnership

A business ownership structure, also called a “limited partnership,” where one or more partners have limited personal liability for business debts and obligations, like shareholders in a corporation, while other partners have unlimited personal liability. The limited partners generally are investors who do not make the day-to-day business decisions.

Spendthrift Trust

An express trust that it prohibits the beneficiary from assigning present or future income from the trust, or from selling his or her rights to the principal to creditors.

Spousal Support

Temporary or permanent payment, also called “alimony” and “maintenance,” that a judge orders one spouse to pay to the other during a divorce proceeding and/or after a divorce is final. The payment enables the receiving spouse to maintain a standard of living; develop skills for self-sufficiency; and/or repay one spouse for the support given to the other spouse, while the latter pursues education or other career enhancing skills.

Statute of Frauds

A law that requires certain types of contracts to be in writing and signed by the parties in order to be enforceable, such as contracts related to real estate transfers and leases.

Statute of Limitations

A law that limits the time period within which a plaintiff may sue another person or company. There are different statutes of limitations for various types of lawsuits.

Stock Certificate

A document signed by an authorized officer of the corporation that shows ownership of shares in the corporation.

Strict Liability

Automatic responsibility for damages for an injury caused by certain dangerous activities in which the person injured does not have to prove negligence in order to recover money damages.

Subsidized Housing

Monetary assistance sponsored by the government to help cover the costs of housing.

Succession Rights

The rights of certain family members to be named as the primary leaseholder in a rent-stabilized apartment or to become the tenant of record in a rent-controlled apartment.

Surrogate’s Court

The court that handles all probate and estate matters in New York.

Testamentary Trust

An express trust that it is created within a will, which takes effect after the testator’s death.

Third-Party Administrator

An independent organization that administers insurance policies for an employer and performs certain services, such as claims administration, premium collection, enrollment, and other administrative functions.

Third-Party Insurance Coverage

Insurance against damages or losses suffered by a third party, who is not the policy holder.

Third-Party Lawsuit

A lawsuit that is outside the workers’ compensation remedy for injuries at work, and which is allowed when a third party caused a work-related injury.


An injury to a person for which the person who caused the injury is legally responsible.


A financial arrangement that enables a person to set aside and manage/invest certain property for the future benefit of that person or someone else, either while the person is alive or after death.


A person (or business) who manages the trust assets according to the terms of the trust document.

Uncontested divorce

A divorce in which the parties agree on all issues relating to the grounds for divorce, custody of children, child support, maintenance, and division of property.

Undocumented Resident

A person who was not born in the U.S. and who otherwise lacks the legal right to be in the U.S.  Usually, such persons either enter the U.S. without inspection and did not later obtain the right to stay in the U.S., or they had the right be in the U.S. but then stayed beyond the expiration date of a visa or other status.

Uninsured Employers Fund

A fund provided by the State of New York to pay workers’ compensation benefits to injured employees whose employer was not properly insured at the time of the accident.

Unlawful Harassment

Offensive conduct based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40 or older), or disability (including pregnancy) that you must put up with as a condition of working in a particular workplace. It also includes offensive conduct that is so intolerable or pervasive that reasonable people would conclude your workplace is intimidating, hostile, or abusive.


Any apartments that are not rent-stabilized or rent-controlled. There are fewer protections for tenants.

Unsecured Debt

Debts for which collateral has not been pledged such as medical debts and credit card debts.


The legal right to see a child regularly, usually awarded by the court to the parent that is not awarded custody of the child.

Warranty of Habitability

An implied promise in a residential lease that the landlord will keep the property habitable, meaning safe and livable at all times.


An employee who reports what the individual believes amounts to unlawful activity (like fraud, unsafe work conditions, or civil rights violations) or activity by the employer (like illegal waste dumping) that threatens the public health.


A document directing how your assets are to be distributed when a person dies.

Workers’ compensation benefits

The benefits paid for an on-the-job injury, which can include compensation for: (1) time out of work; (2) medical expenses; and (3) permanent injury (in some cases).

Wrongful Death

An action for damages that arises when a person’s death is caused by the wrongful conduct of another. Only two elements of damage may be recovered in a wrongful death action: economic loss and the conscious pain and suffering of the deceased. The survivors cannot recover for their pain and suffering, i.e., their grief.