T

Tainted Evidence
In a criminal trial, information that was obtained by illegal means, including evidence that would not have been discovered but for an illegal search or seizure. This evidence is called "the fruit of the poisonous tree," and is usually not admissible in court.

Take
To gain or obtain possession. For example, when beneficiary is named in a will to receive a gift, that person takes the gift under the will. In criminal law, stealing is an unlawful taking.

Taking
See: eminent domain

Taking Against The Will
The choice of a surviving spouse to not accept whatever was left to him or her in the deceased spouse's will and to instead claim the share of the estate that is allowed by state law. (See also: elective share)

Taking The Fifth
A popular phrase that refers to a witness's refusal to testify on the ground that the testimony might incriminate the witness in a crime. The principle is based on the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides that "No person . . . shall be compelled to be a witness against himself," and is applied to state courts by the Fourteenth Amendment. (See also: self-incrimination)

Tangible Employment Action
An actual change that has an actual adverse effect on the job or working conditions, such as a firing, demotion, or suspension. When an employee claims to have been discriminated against or harassed by a supervisor, a tangible employment action supports the employee's case (and may be required to be proved).

Tangible Personal Property
Personal property that can be felt or touched. Examples include furniture, cars, jewelry, and artwork. In contrast, cash and checking accounts are not tangible personal property. The law is unsettled as to whether computer data is tangible personal property. Compare: intangible property

Target Witness
A witness whom the grand jury seeks to indict, or a witness who has specific information sought by the grand jury.

Tax
A governmental assessment upon property value, transactions (transfers and sales), licenses granting a right, and income. A tax levied directly on income or property is a direct tax. A tax levied on the price of goods or services is an indirect tax. The government uses tax revenues to finance public services and goods, such as building highways and schools.

Tax Attorney
A lawyer who specializes in taxes and has a special degree in tax law or certification from a state bar association.

Tax Auditor
An IRS employee who analyzes tax returns for correctness.

Tax Basis
See: basis

Tax Bracket
The percentage rate at which an individual's or business's income is taxed. Compare: marginal tax rate

Tax Costs
A motion to contest a claim for court costs submitted by a prevailing party in a lawsuit. It is called a "Motion to Tax Costs" and asks the judge to deny or reduce claimed costs.

Tax Court
A federal court which hears taxpayers' appeals from decisions of the Internal Revenue Service. Tax courts hear taxpayer appeals "de novo" (as a trial rather than an appeal), and taxpayers do not have to pay the amount claimed by the IRS before their case is heard by the tax court. Tax court decisions may be appealed to the Federal District Court of Appeals.

Tax Credit
An incentive that lets taxpayers reduce the overall amount of taxes they owe by meeting certain qualifications. Examples of tax credits offered by the IRS include the Child Tax Credit and tax credits for first-time home buyers.

Tax Deduction
See: deduction

Tax Evasion
The intentional and fraudulent attempt to escape payment of taxes in whole or in part. If proved to be intentional and not just an error or difference of opinion, tax evasion can be a federal crime. Evasion is distinguished from attempts to use interpretation of tax laws or imaginative accounting to reduce the amount of payable tax.

Tax Examiner
See: tax auditor

Tax Fraud
A willful act done with the intent to cheat in the assessment or payment of any tax liability. Examples include keeping two sets of books or using a false Social Secutiry number.

Tax Lien Notice
An IRS announcement of a tax debt recorded at a government record's office in the county where the debtor resides or the business is located.

Tax Registration Certificate
See: business license

Tax Return
The form taxpayers must file with the taxing authority which details the taxpayer's income, expenses, exemptions, deductions, and calculation of taxes.

Tax Sale
An auction sale of a taxpayer's property conducted by the Federal government to collect unpaid taxes.

Tax Withholding
See: withholding

Tax-Deferred Exchange
See: 1031 exchange

Tax-Exempt Income
Income that is specifically made exempt from taxation by Congress, such as certain Social Security benefits, tax-exempt interest, welfare benefits, nontaxable life insurance proceeds, and nontaxable pension income.

Taxable Income
An individual's or business's gross income minus all allowable deductions, adjustments, and exemptions.

Taxpayer Bill Of Rights
Federal tax laws that restrict IRS conduct and establish taxpayer rights in dealing with the IRS.

Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
A number assigned by the IRS or the SSA to be used for tax administration. Taxpayer identification numbers include Social Security numbers, employer identification numbers, and individual taxpayer identification numbers.

Temporary Injunction
See: preliminary injunction

Temporary Insanity
In a criminal case, a defense by the accused that he or she was briefly insane at the time the crime was committed and therefore was incapable of knowing the nature of the alleged criminal act.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
The U.S. government may grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to persons already in the United States who came from certain countries experiencing conditions of war or natural disasters. TPS allows a person to live and work in the United States for a specific time period, but it does not lead to U.S. permanent residence (a green card).

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
An order that tells one person to stop harassing or harming another, issued after the person being harassed appears before a judge or submits appropriate paperwork. A few days or weeks after the TRO is issued, the court holds a second hearing where the person being restrained can argue to the judge and the court can decide whether to make the TRO permanent by issuing an injunction. In domestic violence situations, the police tend to be more willing to intervene if there's a TRO in place and the abused spouse can show the other spouse is violating it.

Tenancy
The right to occupy real property for a specific term, such as under a one-year lease, for a series of periods until cancelled, (such as month-to-month rental agreement), or at will (which may be terminated at any time).

Tenancy At Sufferance
A description of the nature of the tenancy that is created after a lease has expired, but before the landlord has demanded that the tenant quit (vacate) the premises. During a tenancy at sufferance the tenant is bound by the terms of the lease (including payment of rent) that existed before it expired. Also known as a "holdover tenancy."

Tenancy At Will
A tenancy that is created when the landlord allows the tenant to occupy the premises, but no formal terms of the tenancy exist. A tenancy at will may be terminated by proper notice from either landlord or tenant.

Tenancy By The Entireties
See: tenancy by the entirety

Tenancy By The Entirety
A special kind of ownership that's similar to joint tenancy but is only for married couples and, in a few states, same-sex couples who have registered with the state. It is available in about half the states. Both spouses have the right to enjoy the entire property. Neither one can unilaterally end the tenancy, and creditors of one spouse cannot force a sale of the property to collect on a debt. When one dies, the survivor automatically gets title to the entire property without a probate court proceeding. Also called "tenancy by the entireties." Compare: joint tenancy

Tenancy In Common
A way two or more people can own property together, in unequal shares. Each has an undivided interest in the property, an equal right to use the property, and the right to leave his or her interest upon death to chosen beneficiaries instead of to the other owners (as is required with joint tenancy). In some states, two people are presumed to own property as tenants in common unless they've agreed otherwise in writing.

Tenant
1) Anyone, including a corporation, who occupies or possesses land by right or title. 2) A person or corporation who rents real property, with or without a house or structure, from the owner landlord.

Tenants In Common
See: tenancy in common

Tender
1) To present to another person an unconditional offer to enter into a contract; a request for bids. 2) To present payment to another.

Tender Back Rule
A legal principle requiring a party who seeks to invalidate a contract to return whatever that party received under the contract's terms. For example, a former employee who receives a severance package in exchange for agreeing not to sue a former employer for wrongful termination must tender back the money if he or she decides to sue and claim that the release is invalid. There is an exception to the tender back rule for age discrimination claims brought under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act: Those suing for age discrimination despite having signed a release do not have to tender back the money they received for signing (although they may have to reimburse the employer for that money if they win the lawsuit).

Tender Offer
A public offer to purchase stock at a specified price per share, usually done to gain a controlling interest in a corporation.

Tenement
1) A term found in older deeds or in antiquaited deed language, referring to any structure on real property. 2) Old run-down urban apartment buildings with several floors reached by stairways.

Tentative Trust
See: Totten trust

Tenure
1) The right to occupy or hold property, sometimes only for a set period of time. 2) The right to hold a position indefinitely, absent serious misconduct or inability to perform the duties of the position. For example, federal judges have lifetime tenure, and professors who are granted tenure generally have indefinite job security. 3) The length of time for which a person has held a particular position. For example, "During my tenure on the Board of Directors, the company has doubled in size."

Term
1) In contracts or leases, a period of time, such as one year, in which a contract or lease will be in force. 2) In contracts or leases, a specified condition, often also called a clause, such as a provision that prohibits tenants from keeping pets. 3) A period of time for which a court sits or a legislature will be in session.

Term Life Insurance
No-frills life insurance, with neither cash surrender value nor loan value (an amount that can be used as collateral for a loan). Term life insurance provides a pre-set amount of coverage if the policyholder dies during the period of time specified in the policy. Policyholders usually have the option to renew at the end of the term for the period of years specified in the policy. Unlike whole life insurance, premiums generally increase as the insured person gets older and the risk of death increases.

Terrorem Clause
See: no-contest clause

Testacy
The condition of dying with a valid will. Compare: intestacy

Testamentary
Pertaining to a will.

Testamentary Capacity
The mental competency to execute a will at the time the will was signed and witnessed. Generally, the will maker must understand nature of making a will, have a general idea of what he or she possesses, and know who his beneficiaries are.

Testamentary Disposition
Leaving property at one's death, most often though a will. The person making the disposition retains ownership of the property until his or her death, at which time the property is transferred to the beneficiary.

Testamentary Trust
A trust created by a will, effective only upon the death of the will maker. Compare: living trust

Testate
The circumstance of dying after making a valid will. A person who dies with a will is said to have died testate. Compare: intestate

Testate Succession
Distribution of rights and property through a will. Compare: intestate succession

Testator
Someone who makes a will.

Testatrix
A female will maker. However, modernly, the word testator is used for both men and women.

Testify
To provide oral evidence under oath at a trial or at a deposition.

Testimony
Evidence given under oath by a witness either at trial or in an affidavit or deposition.

Texas V. Johnson (1989)
The U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court struck down laws prohibiting flag burning. The Court held that laws banning flag burning violated the First Amendment right to free speech.

TFRP
See: trust fund recovery penalty

Theft
The generic term for all crimes in which a person intentionally takes personal property of another without permission or consent and with the intent to convert it to the taker's use (including potential sale). In many states, when the value of the property taken is low (for example, less than $500) the crime is "petty theft" and a misdemeanor; but it is "grand theft" and a felony for larger amounts. Theft is synonymous with "larceny." Although robbery (taking by force), burglary (taking after entering unlawfully), and embezzlement (stealing from an employer) are all commonly thought of as theft, they are distinguished by the means and methods used, and are separately designated as specific types of crimes in criminal charges and statutory punishments. (See also: larceny, robbery, burglary, embezzlement)

Third Degree Instruction
See: dynamite charge

Third Party
A person who is not a party to a contract or a transaction, but who has an involvement. The third party normally has no legal rights in the matter, unless the contract was made specifically for the third party's benefit. (See also: third-party beneficiary)

Third-Party Beneficiary
A person who is not a party to a contract, but has legal rights to enforce the contract or share in proceeds because the contract was specifically intended for that person's benefit. For example, a grandparent contracts to buy a car for a grandchild. If the seller refuses to go through with the deal after receiving payment, the grandchild may sue, even though not a party to the contract. Compare: incidental beneficiary.

Third-Party Trust
A special needs trust funded exclusively with property given by people other than the beneficiary. Compare: self-settled trust

Threatened Species
A species that is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 defines this term for purposes of federal law.

Three Strikes
A state statute requiring a harsher sentence, especially life imprisonment, for a repeat offender's third felony conviction.

Three-Day Notice
A notice from a landlord to a tenant to pay delinquent rent within three days or quit (leave or vacate) the premises. State laws typically set specific rules for preparing and serving three-day notices. A landlord may file an eviction lawsuit for unpaid rent against a tenant who fails to pay or vacate within three days. While the three-day notice period is common, it does not apply in all states or in all circumstances, such as property covered by local rent control ordinances.

Three-Of-Five Test
A rebuttable IRS presumption that a business venture that does not make a profit in three out of five consecutive years of operation is a hobby and not a business for tax purposes. Not meeting this test has significant tax consequences because businesses can take advantage of many tax benefits and advantages that hobbies do not get.

Tidelands
Land between the high and low tides that is uncovered each day by tidal action. It belongs to the owner of the land that fronts on the sea at that point. 2) Land that is submerged below the low-tide point of the sea but is still the territory of a state or nation.

TILA
See: Truth in Lending Act

Time Is Of The Essence
A phrase often used in contracts to emphasize that any delays will be grounds for termination.

Time Served
At the time a criminal defendant is sentenced, the amount of time the defendant has already spent in jail awaiting trial or a plea of guilty. When a judge sentences a defendant to "time served," the sentence is the same as the time the defendant has spent in jail, and the defendant is set free.

Timely
Within the time required by statute, court rules, or contract. For example, if a notice of appeal must be filed within 60 days of the entry of judgment, a notice filed on the 61st day would not be timely.

Title
Ownership of real estate or personal property. With real estate, title is evidenced by a deed (or sometimes, another document) recorded in the county land records office.

Title Abstract
See: abstract of title

Title Company
A company that performs title searches and issues title insurance when real estate is sold. (See also: escrow)

Title Insurance
Insurance issued by a title insurance company that protects a property buyer against loss if it is later discovered that title is imperfect -- that is, that someone else has a claim to the property or that the description on the deed is erroneous. (See also: title search)

Title IX
Part of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Actions prohibited by Title IX include sexual harassment, the failure to provide equal opportunity in athletics, and discrimination based on pregnancy.

Title Report
The written analysis of a real estate title search, including a property description, names of titleholders and how title is held (joint tenancy, for example), tax rate, encumbrances (mortgages, liens, deeds of trust, recorded judgments), and real estate taxes due. A title report is needed before a lender will agree to finance purchase of the property. A title report is prepared by a title company, an abstracter, an attorney, or an escrow company, depending on local practice.

Title Search
A search of the local public land records, usually made by a title insurance company before a purchase of a parcel of real esate, to see whether the current owner of the real estate actually has good title to the land. The search should turn up any easements, mortgages, tax liens, or other liens on the property. If the title search reveals a problem ("cloud on the title"), such as a break in the chain of title, inaccurate property description in a previous deed, or some old secured loan which has not been released, the problem will have to be cleared up before the sale can go through. (See also: chain of title, title insurance, title report)

Title VII
A federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) that prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, and genetic information.

Title X
The name of a federal law ("Title Ten," the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act) passed in 1992, aimed at helping residential landlords evaluate the risk of lead poisoning in each housing situation. Among other things, Title X requires landlords to disclose the presence of known lead paint hazards to prospective and current tenants, to give them an informational booklet, and to warn again if renovations will disturb lead paint. Home sellers must also disclose known hazards. (See also: lead hazard)

To Wit
A term that means "that is to say" or "namely." Example: "The passengers in the vehicle, to wit: Arlene Jones, Betty Bumgartner and Sherry Younger, were uninjured."

TOD
See: transfer-on-death

TOD Deed
See: transfer-on-death deed

Toll
1) To stop or suspend the operation of a statute. Most often, this term is used in reference to statutes of limitations, which set the time limits for bringing a lawsuit or criminal prosecution on particular types of legal claims. For example, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit may be tolled if the plaintiff didn't realize he or she had been injured by the defendant's actions until after the time period to sue had run out. 2) A fee charged to use something, such as a bridge, turnpike, or ferry.

Tontine
An agreement in which investors receive annuity payments, with the special provision that when one participant dies, his or her share goes to the others (increasing the payments to the survivors). Generally, the last to die receives the remaining funds. They are illegal in the United States.

Too Big To Fail
The concept that some financial institutions are so large that the federal government cannot allow them to fall into bankruptcy, or fail, because to do so would have a devastating effect on the nation's economy.

Tools Of The Trade
The items a person needs to pursue his or her occupation. Many state laws provide that tools of the trade are exempt property -- that is, they may not be seized by creditors or by the trustee in a bankruptcy case -- either entirely or up to a certain dollar amount. (See also: exempt property)

Tort
An injury to one person for which the person who caused the injury is legally responsible. A tort can be intentional -- for example, an angry punch in the nose -- but is far more likely to result from carelessness (called "negligence"), such as riding your bicycle on the sidewalk and colliding with a pedestrian. While the injury that forms the basis of a tort is usually physical, this is not a requirement -- libel, slander, and the "intentional infliction of mental distress" are on a good-sized list of torts not based on a physical injury. A tort is a civil wrong, as opposed to a criminal wrong. Compare: crime

Tort Claims Act
A federal or state law that waives the government's sovereign immunity under certain conditions, allowing lawsuits by people who claim they have been harmed by negligent or intentional torts (wrongful acts) by a government agency or its employees. Before the enactment of tort claims acts, governmental bodies could not be sued without the specific permission of the government. The federal version is the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Tortfeasor
A person who commits a tort (civil wrong), either intentionally or through negligence.

Tortious
Constituting a tort (civil wrong), referring to an act that is a tort.

Tortious Interference
Causing harm by intentionally 1) disrupting a contractual relationship, for example by preventing one party from delivering goods on time, or 2) harming a business relationship or activity, for example, by spreading lies about a competitor to one of its clients.

Totten Trust
A bank account that's held in trust for a beneficiary, who inherits any money in the account when the account holder dies. Probate proceedings are not necessary to transfer the money. A Totten trust works just like a payable-on-death bank account.

Toxic Mold
A popular phrase often used incorrectly to refer to any mold that appears in a residence or workplace. Some molds produce toxins (a substance that prevents other molds from growing nearby), and some people are sensitive to them, but the majority of molds are merely unsightly and destructive to property and do not cause health problems.

Toxic Tort
A personal injury caused by exposure to a toxic substance, such as asbestos or hazardous waste. Victims can sue for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Trade Dress
Various design elements used to promote a product or service. For example, trade dress includes the unique shape of a bottle, the color of a pill, or the decorative elements within a chain restaurant. Trade dress can be protected under trademark law if it is distinctive and a showing can be made that the average consumer would likely be confused as to product origin if another product had a similar appearance.

Trade Fixture
A piece of equipment placed on or attached to commercial real estate, which is used in the tenant's trade or business. Trade fixtures differ from other fixtures in that they may be removed from the real estate (even if attached) at the end of the tenancy, while ordinary fixtures attached to the real estate become part of it.

Trade Name
The formal or official name of a business -- that is, the name the business uses on its letterhead and bank account. A trade name may serve as a company's trademark if it is used to market the company's goods or services. For example, "Dell" is the trade name for Dell, Inc. It is also a trademark used by the company for personal computers, servers, software, and certain computer-related services. Compare: trademark

Trade Secret
Any formula, pattern, device, or compilation of information that is used in business, that is not generally known, and that gives the owner an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know it. A trade secret must also be the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.

Trademark
A word, phrase, logo, graphic symbol, or other device that is used to identify the source of a product or service and to distinguish it from competitors. Some examples of trademarks are Ford (cars and trucks), Betty Crocker (food products), and Microsoft (software). For all practical purposes, a service mark is the same as a trademarkexcept that trademarks promote products while service marks promote services. Some familiar service marks include McDonalds (food services), FedEx (delivery services), and Fidelity (financial services).

Trademark Owner
The person or entity who retains legal control over all (or some) of the rights granted under trademark law, usually the first business to use a distinctive trademark on goods or services in commerce. Federal registration is not a prerequiste of trademark ownership but it offers the trademark owner certain benefits. (See also: trademark registration)

Trademark Registration
A grant by a state or the federal government indicating that a trademark has met certain statutory requirements. Federal trademark registration makes it easier for the owner to protect against would-be copiers and puts the rest of the country on notice that the mark is already taken. Registration will not occur until a mark has been used in commerce.

Trademark Search
An investigation to discover any potential conflicts between a proposed trademark and existing ones, and preferably done before a new trademark is used in commerce. A trademark search reduces the possibility of inadvertently infringing a mark belonging to someone else. A business can conduct a preliminary search using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's online trademark database. The most thorough trademark searches are accomplished by professional search firms.

Traffic
1) Commerce or trade; the sale or barter of goods or commodities. 2) People, animals, vehicles, or things moving or being moved along a route. 3) To deal or trade, usually in illegal goods -- for example, to traffic in drugs.

Transaction
An event associated with the transfer of an amount of money (debit or credit) in the operation of a business.

Transcript
The official written record of all proceedings in a trial, hearing, or deposition, taken down by the court reporter. In most appeals a copy of the trial transcript is required so that the court of appeals can review the entire proceedings in the trial court.

Transfer
To move ownership or possession of an asset (or an interest in an asset) from one party to another. The term encompasses all methods for disposing of an asset, including by gift, sale, release, lease, and so on.

Transfer Agent
The person or company that handles the paperwork when shares of a corporation's stock are transferred to a new owner.

Transfer In Contemplation Of Death
A gift made by a person who believes that he or she will soon die. Also called gift causa mortis. Recovery of health may void the gift.

Transfer-On-Death (TOD)
Refers to the right to name a beneficiary in a document of title which allows the beneficiary to receive the property quickly, outside of probate. In most states, securities can be registered in TOD form. In some states, you can register vehicles in this way or create transfer-on-death deeds for real estate.

Transfer-On-Death Deed
A real estate deed that takes effect at death and allows a property owner to leave property in a way that avoids probate court proceedings after death. It is allowed in only some states. Sometimes called a beneficiary deed.

Transferred Intent
Intent to commit a criminal or civil wrong against one person that instead harms a different person. In this situation, the intent necessary to convict or find the wrongdoer liable transfers from the intended act to the committed act. For example, someone who intends to shoot and kill one person, but misses and kills a bystander may be convicted of murder; the perpetrator had the necessary criminal intent even though he or she didn't intend to kill the bystander.

Transgender
The state of a person's gender identity (self-identification as male or female) not matching their assigned sex at birth. (See also: transsexual)

Treason
The crime of betraying one's country. Treason requires overt acts and includes attempts to make war against the state, sharing government secrets with other countries, espionage, or materially supporting the enemies of one's country.

Treasury Bill
A promissory note issued in multiples of $10,000 by the U.S. Treasury with a maturity date of not more than one year. (See also: treasury bond, treasury note)

Treasury Bond
A long-term bond issued by the U.S. Treasury. (See also: treasury bill, treasury note)

Treasury Note
A promissory note issued by the U.S. Treasury for a period of one to five years. (See also: treasury bill, treasury bond)

Treasury Stock
Stock of a private corporation that was issued and then bought back or otherwise reacquired by the corporation.

Treatise
A legal reference book, usually covering an entire legal subject.

Treaty
A pact between nations that, if entered into by the United States through its Executive Branch, must be approved by two-thirds of the Senate under Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. Presidents sometimes get around this requirement by entering into "Executive Agreements" with leaders of other countries; these are mutual understandings rather than enforceable treaties.

Treble Damages
Tripling the amount of actual damages to be paid to a prevailing party in a lawsuit. Treble damages are sometimes provided by law in order to punish intentional or willful behavior of the losing party.

Trespass
The act of entering someone's property without permission or authority.(Although it usually refers to real estate, trespass can apply to personal property as well.) Trespassing can be a tort (a civil wrong, which the property owner can sue over) and can be a crime if it's done willfully. Examples of trespass include erecting a fence on another's property or dumping debris on another's real estate.

Trial
The examination of facts and law presided over by a judge, magistrate, or other person with authority to hear the matter (such as a lawyer appointed to hear the case). Trials begin with the selection of a jury (unless the case will be heard without one), followed by opening statements by each side if they choose to give them. (The defense may also give an opening statement just before it presents its case.) The plaintiff (in a civil case) or the prosecution (in a criminal case) presents its side, then the defense puts on its case. Sometimes the plaintiff or prosecution presents more evidence, called rebuttal evidence, as does the defense. Following closing arguments, the jury (if there is one) is instructed by the judge on the law they must apply when deciding whether the plaintiff or prosecution adequately proved their case. The trial ends when the jury reaches a verdict, or when they fail to do so and the judge declares a mistrial.

Trial Court
The court that has original jurisdiction and holds the original trial where all the evidence is first received and considered. Compare: appellate court

Trial De Novo
A trial held on appeal, in which the appeals court holds a trial as if no prior trial had been held, considering the evidence anew rather than reviewing the lower court's decision for correctness. A trial de novo is common on appeals from small claims court judgments.

Tribunal
Any court, judicial body, or board which has judicial or quasi-judicial functions (such as a public utilities board that sets rates or a planning commission that can allow variances from zoning regulations).

Trier Of Fact
The jury responsible for deciding factual issues in a trial, if there is a jury. If there is no jury the judge is the trier of fact as well as the trier of the law. In administrative hearings, an administrative law judge, a board, commission, or referee may be the trier of fact.

Triple Net Lease
See: net lease

TRO
See: temporary restraining order

True Bill
The name for the decision by a grand jury that the evidence presented to it, contained in the prosecutor's indictment, justifies charging the defendant with a crime. This decision results in the indictment being sent to the trial court. (See: grand jury, indictment)

Trust
An arrangement under which one person, a trustee, manages property for a beneficiary. The person who creates the trust is called the settlor, trustor, or grantor. There are many kinds of trusts, some created during the settlor's lifetime and some at death. Trusts are used for, among other things, avoiding probate court proceedings, saving on estate tax, providing quality management of assets, and keeping money out of the hands of improvident beneficiaries. (See also: living trust, testamentary trust)

Trust Administration
The trustee's management of trust property according to the trust's terms and for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

Trust Corpus
Latin for "the body" of the trust. This term refers to all the property transferred to a trust. For example, if a trust is established (funded) with $250,000, that money is the corpus. Also called the trust res.

Trust Declaration
See: declaration of trust

Trust Deed
The most common instrument of financing real estate purchases in California and some other states (most states use mortgages). The trust deed transfers the title to the property to a trustee -- often a title company -- who holds it as security for a loan. When the loan is paid off, the title is transferred (reconveyed) to the borrower. The trustee will not become involved in the arrangement unless the borrower defaults on the loan. At that point, the trustee can generally sell the property in a nonjudicial foreclosure and pay the lender from the proceeds.

Trust Fund
The principal, or corpus, of a trust.

Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (TFRP)
A penalty from the IRS for not paying "trust fund" taxes, which are taxes a company withholds from an employees paycheck, including Social Security and Medicare taxes and federal income (withholding) taxes. This penalty can be assessed against any owner, officer, or company employee whose job is related to accounts payable, payroll, or the financial operations of the business.

Trust Fund Taxes
Taxes a company withholds from an employees paycheck, including Social Security and Medicare taxes and federal income (withholding) taxes. A trust fund recovery penalty can be assessed when a business doesn't pay these taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

Trust Instrument
See: declaration of trust

Trust Merger
Under a trust, the situation that occurs when the sole trustee and the sole beneficiary are the same person or institution. Then, there's no longer the separation between the trustee's legal ownership of trust property from the beneficiary's interest. The trust "merges" and ceases to exist.

Trust Protector
A person or company with the job of keeping an eye on a trustee and making sure the trusts purposes are fulfilled. The trust protectors powers, which are set out in the document that creates the trust, may include helping the trustee with legal, investment, and tax matters. The trust protector may also have authority to settle disputes among trustees or beneficiaries and may be able to appoint a new trustee if the original one isnt following the terms of the trust.

Trust Res
See: trust corpus

Trustee
The person (or business) who manages assets held in trust, under the terms of the trust document. A trustee's purpose is to invest trust assets and distribute trust income or principal to beneficiaries as directed in the trust document. With a simple probate avoidance living trust, the person who creates the trust is also the original trustee. (See also: successor trustee)

Trustee In Bankruptcy
See: bankruptcy trustee

Trustee Powers
The provisions in a trust document defining what the trustee may and may not do.

Trustor
See: settlor

Truth In Lending Act (TILA)
A federal law that requires lenders to disclose the true cost of credit transactions by providing certain information to borrowers, including the terms of a loan, interest rates, and the number, amount, and due dates of all payments necessary to pay off the loan.

Turn State's Evidence
The decision by a person charged with a crime, or suspected of a crime, to cooperate with the prosecution and testify against another participant in the criminal activity. In exchange for giving information or testifying, the person who has "turned" gets some sort of lenient treatment, such as a reduced charge, a plea bargain to a lesser charge, or a promise that the prosecution will recommend a light sentence.

Turncoat Witness
A witness who was expected to be a friendly witness, but who becomes a hostile witness during the course of the trial.

Twinkie Defense
Slang for a claim by criminal defendants that at the time of the crime, they were suffering from a mental impairment (short of insanity) caused by intoxication, disease, or trauma, which prevented them from having the mental state required to hold them responsible for the crime. The phrase arose from the defense argued successfully by Dan White, charged with murdering San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. White claimed that the sugar high resulting from eating "Twinkie" cupcakes made it impossible for him to form the intent necessary for a murder conviction. White was convicted of manslaughter instead of murder. (See also: manslaughter, criminal insanity)

Typosquatting
The process of acquiring misspellings of a domain name in the hopes of catching and exploiting traffic intended for another website. For example, a typosquatter might purchase domain names such as www.lnadsend.com and www.landswnd.com and then demand money for referring customers under the Land's End affiliate program. Typosquatting is a variation of cybersquatting, an illegal practice in which a domain name is acquired in bad faith.