Q

QDOT
A qualified domestic trust. This type of trust is used to postpone estate taxes when more than the amount of the personal federal estate tax exemption is left to a non-U.S. citizen spouse by the other spouse.

QDRO
See: Qualified Domestic Relations Order

QMSCO
See: Qualified Medical Child Support Order

QTIP Trust
A type of trust for married couples that allows a surviving spouse to postpone estate taxes. A QTIP trust allows the surviving spouse to make use of the trust property tax-free. Taxes are deferred until the surviving spouse dies and the trust property is received by the final trust beneficiaries, who were named by the first spouse to die.

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)
A court order based on the division of a party's pension or retirement benefits as part of a divorce. The QDRO orders the administrator of the pension plan to distribute a specified share of benefits to the nonemployee spouse at the time that the employee spouse begins receiving benefits. This special order is necessary to comply with federal law governing retirement pay.

Qualified Domestic Trust
See: QDOT

Qualified Endorsement
An endorsement that passes title to a negotiable instrument with certain restrictions. For example, writing "without recourse" on the back of the check would create a qualified endorsement. Compare: blank endorsement

Qualified Individual With A Disability
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an individual with a disability who has the necessary skill, education, experience and other job-related requirements to perform the essential functions of a position.

Qualified Intermediary
In a 1031 exchange, a neutral third party who holds the proceeds of the sale of a relinquished property until replacement property is purchased with those funds. This prevents the investor from receiving the funds during the 1031 transaction, and so avoids taxes.

Qualified Medical Child Support Order (Qmsco)
A court order that directs an insurance company to continue providing health coverage for the child of a noncustodial parent under that parent's group health plan.

Qualified Ownership
Ownership with limitations or conditions. For example, if your grandmother leaves you a plot of land, but requires that you never build on it.

Qualified Personal Residence Trust (Qprt)
A trust designed to save on estate tax by moving a residence (or vacation home, if certain conditions in the tax code are met) out of the owners taxable estate. The owner transfers ownership of the property to the trust but keeps the right to live there for a number of years. QPRTs are most popular when real estate values are going up rapidly.

Qualified Plan
See: qualified retirement plan

Qualified Retirement Plan
A retirement plan that meets certain requirements under the Internal Revenue Code and is thus eligible for special tax considerations and benefits. Often, the plan allows employers to make tax deductible contributions on behalf of eligible employees. Employees generally do not have to pay tax on the plan earnings until they withdraw the money.

Qualified Small Business Stock
Certain small business corporation stock which receives a special tax break that is designed to help qualifying small C corporations raise capital. It does this by allowing qualifying investors in original issue stock to exclude 50% of their gains on the sale of the stock if a five-year holding period is met.

Qualified Witness
A witness who helps lay a foundation for admission of evidence under the business exception to the hearsay rule by explaining how a business keeps its records.

Quantum Meruit
Latin for "as much as he deserved." A principle used to award the reasonable value of services performed by the victim of a broken contract.

Quash
To annul or set aside. A motion to quash asks the judge for an order setting aside or nullifying an action, such as quashing a service of summons when the wrong person was served.

Quasi
(kwah-zee, kway-zeye) From the Latin for "as if," almost, somewhat, to a degree. Quasi is always used in combination with another word and refers to things and actions which are not exactly or fully what they might appear, but are treated "as if" they were. (See, for example: quasi-community property, quasi contract, quasi corporation, quasi-criminal, quasi in rem, quasi-judicial)

Quasi Contract
An arrangement created and enforced by a court to prevent one party from being unjustly enriched by another; also known as an implied-in-law contract. (See: implied contract, unjust enrichment)

Quasi In Rem
Latin for "as if against a thing," referring to a legal action that involves determining the legal rights of a person with an interest in a property within a court's jurisdiction.

Quasi-Community Property
A form of property owned by a married couple. If a couple moves to a community property state from a non-community property state, property they acquired together in the non-community property state may be considered quasi-community property. Quasi-community property is treated just like community property when one spouse dies or if the couple divorces.

Quasi-Corporation
A business that operates as a corporation but has not completed the legal requirements, often in the period just before formal incorporation.

Quasi-Criminal
A reference to a court's right to punish for actions or omissions as if they were criminal. The most common example is finding a parent who is delinquent in child support in contempt of court and penalizing him or her with a jail sentence. When a hearing is quasi-criminal, the quasi-defendant is entitled to all due process protections afforded a criminal defendant.

Quasi-Judicial
1) A description of decisions or actions of an administrative or executive government agency that are similar to a court proceeding. For example, the National Labor Relations Board is a quasi-judicial body that decides labor dispute cases based on the written record of evidence heard and decisions reached by administrative law judges. 2) Sometimes used more generally to refer to adjudicative procedures that occur outside of courts. For example, arbitration is often referred to as a quasi-judicial proceeding.

Quasi-Personalty
Property that is considered to be personal property, even though it is actually (a fixture) or legally (a lease) attached to real property.

Queen's Bench
The highest court in Great Britain during the reign of a queen, so that opinions are identified as a volume of Queen's Bench (QB).

Question Of Fact
A question that involves factual matters. In a legal proceeding, a jury (if there is one) will determine issues of fact, while only a judge can decide questions of law. For example, whether a defendant was present at the scene of a crime is a question of fact; whether mere presence meets the legal definition of a crime is a question of law.

Question Of Law
An issue arising in a lawsuit or criminal prosecution which only relates to determination of what the law is, how it is applied to the facts in the case, and other purely legal points in contention. All "questions of law" arising before, during, and sometimes after a trial are to be determined solely by the judge and not by the jury. (See also: question of fact)

Qui Tam Action
(kwee-tam) Latin for "who as well," a lawsuit brought by a private citizen but brought for "the government as well as the plaintiff." This type of action is generally based on significant legal violations which involve fraudulent or criminal acts, and not technical violations or errors. If successful, the plaintiff ll be entitled to a percentage of the recovery of the penalty as a reward for exposing the wrongdoing and recovering funds for the government.

QUID
See: qualified individual with a disability

Quid Pro Quo
(kwid pro kwoh) Latin for "this for that." A quid pro quo is what each person in a deal expects to get from the other. In employment law, quid pro quo sometimes refers to a type of sexual harassment in which workplace rewards are explicitly linked to the victim's willingness to submit to unwanted sexual advances. ("If you agree to go out with me, you'll be first in line for promotion.")

Quiet Enjoyment
The right of a property owner or tenant to enjoy his or her property without interference. Disruption of quiet enjoyment may constitute a legal nuisance. Leases and rental agreements often contain a "covenant of quiet enjoyment," expressly obligating the landlord to ensure that tenants live undisturbed.

Quiet Title Action
A lawsuit to determine who owns a piece of real estate and so "quiet" any disputes over the title. Such a suit arises when there is some question about title -- for example, uncertainty about the boundary, claims by a lienholder, a question about an old mortgage, or an easement that's been used for years without a recorded description. A quiet title lawsuit names as defendants anyone who might have an interest (including descendants -- known or unknown -- of prior owners). Notice of the action must be posted on the property and published in an approved local newspaper. If the court rules that the plaintiff is the rightful owner, it will grant a quiet title judgment, which can be recorded and will settle the issue of ownership. Quiet title actions are a common example of "friendly" lawsuits in which often there is no opposition. (See also: cloud on title)

Quit
To leave, used in a written notice to a tenant to leave the premises (called a notice to quit).

Quitclaim Deed
A deed that transfers whatever ownership interest the transferor has in a particular property. The deed does not guarantee anything about what is being transferred, however. For example, a divorcing husband might quitclaim his interest in certain real estate to his former wife, officially giving up any legal interest he may have in the property. Quitclaim deeds are used primarily among family members or others familiar with the property and each other. Compare: grant deed, warranty deed

Quo Warranto
(kwoh wahr-rahn-toe) Latin for "by what warrant." The name for a writ (order) used to challenge another's right to either public or corporate office or to challenge actions that are not authorized by a corporation charter (articles of incorporation).

Quorum
The number of people required to be present at a meeting before a vote can be taken. A quorum is usually a majority of directors, shareholders, or members, but a different quorum may be set in the bylaws or operating agreement of the business or association.

Quotient Verdict
An award of money damages in a lawsuit obtained by averaging the amounts of damages awarded by jurors when they disagree as to what the award should be. A quotient verdict is not legal since it is not based on a rational discussion of the facts, and such a verdict will be set aside and a mistrial will be declared by the judge.