Glossary of Louisiana Law Terms
A MENSA ET THORO
A separation “from bed and board.” Since Louisiana now has no-fault divorce laws, the concept of a legal separation is now outdated.
A VINCULO MATRIMONII
A divorce “from the bonds of matrimony.” A Complete dissolution of the marriage.
The withdrawal or denial of marital obligations without justification or cause. It is more commonly understood to be one spouse leaving the matrimonial domicile without cause and refusing to return.
A condensed history of the chain of title to land based on courthouse records. A title opinion from a lawyer is generally based on the abstract.
To admit something is genuine. When used in connection with paternity, it is a formal recognition that a child is one’s own.
Property acquired by gift, purchase, or otherwise than by succession (also acquets and gains).
ACT OF SALE
In Louisiana it is an original record of a sale of property made by a notary. Since Louisiana does not have deeds, as such, a copy of the act of sale is the equivalent of a deed.
ADMINISTRATOR (female: Administratrix)
The person who has court authority to manage a deceased’s estate. This is the proper term for an intestate (no will) succession. If there was a will, then the person is an executor.
The act of taking another person as one’s own with all the rights and responsibilities that would have existed between parent and child. This also will make the person a forced heir, if the person would be a forced anyway.
Voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with someone other than that person’s spouse. May also include oral intercourse, according to a line of Louisiana court cases.
A voluntary written statement that is signed and sworn under oath by the person making the statement before an officer having authority to administer the oath, usually a notary.
The right of either spouse to receive support from the other. The more proper term now is “spousal support” rather than alimony.
ALIMONY PENDENTE LITE
A right for support that is temporary pending a final divorce. Now more properly called “temporary spousal support.”
Act of rendering something void retrospectively as well as prospectively.
Usually a pleading in response to a lawsuit which alleges facts to deny or avoid the allegations made by a plaintiff.
The removal of a case from an inferior court to a superior court for review.
One who is authorized to act for or in stead of another.
An act executed before a notary and two witnesses.
Generally a deliberate fraud or a design to mislead others for one’s own benefit.
To give personal property by a will.
Contracting a marriage while a prior marriage is still valid.
BULK SALES ACTS
Class of statutes to prevent the defrauding of creditors by a secret sale of most or all of a merchant’s stock. Most of Louisiana’s bulk sales acts have been replaced by the Uniform Commercial Code.
Article of personal property. Property other than real estate.
A modification or addition to an existing will.
The return to a succession by an heir who received more than his share during the deceased’s lifetime. The laws of collation can be waived in a will.
Property owned jointly by a husband and wife in a marital partnership.
A contract in which each contracting party gives and receives an equivalent, e.g., the contract of sale.
Living together or cohabiting without the authority of marriage.
CURATOR (female: Curatrix)
Person appointed to be a guardian of a minor or other person not regarded as able to manage his own affairs.
DATION EN PAIEMENT
The giving by a debtor to a creditor of something other than money to cancel a debt. Usually a dation is made of mortgaged property to the mortgage holder in exchange for canceling the debt.
An appeal that does not suspend the execution of a judgment.
DIVORCE A VINCULO MATRIMONII
An absolute divorce that totally releases the parties from their matrimonial obligation.
A place of permanent residence in which a person always intends to remain and to return when traveling elsewhere.
A payment of part of the price for the purpose of validating the contract.
Surrender of parental duties with the concurrent granting to a minor of the legal status of adult. Some types of emancipation can be partial.
The removal of a tenant from an owner’s property through judicial process.
A pleading that is filed to delay or dismiss a suit without necessarily making a legal appearance before the court.
EXECUTOR (female: Executrix)
Person appointed in a will to carry out the deceased’s instructions and dispose of the property in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.
Those persons who must receive a portion of a deceased’s estate in a proportion set by law. Currently, forced heirs are children under the age of 24, children regardless of age who are permanently disabled, and children regardless of age who have an inherited condition that may make them permanently disabled.
The amount a forced heir must receive. Can be used interchangeably with “legitime.”
One who is entitled to receive the property of a deceased either by will or by operation of law. The more technical definition in Louisiana is one who inherits when the deceased had no will, as opposed to a legatee who inherits through a will.
Sexual intercourse between parties related by blood in the degree prohibited by law.
A court order forbidding a defendant from doing something or allowing a plaintiff to do something.
Having no classification. In the law of contracts, a type of contract that falls under general contract law since it is not classified under a particular statute.
An obligation where several obligors may each be individually liable for the whole obligation.
A court proceeding to declare a person incapable of managing his own affairs because of physical or mental disability. The person interdicted is called an interdict and the person appointed is called a tutor.
A temporary judgment or decree which decides some point but is not final in nature.
A set of written questions propounded to an opposing party to gain information or to force admissions that can be used at trial.
Without a will. When a person dies intestate, Louisiana law determines who will inherit his property.
A person licensed to practice law. Commonly used interchangeably with attorney.
The portion of an estate that a forced heir is entitled to inherit. This can also be called the forced portion.
The harm suffered by a seller who does not receive a fair amount for the property which he has sold.
LESION BEYOND MOIETY
The harm suffered by a seller who does not receive at least one-half the value of the property he has sold.
Age at which a person has all the rights of an adult.
Unreasonable lack of skill or care by someone who practices a given profession.
An agreement between married persons, or those who intend to be married, usually as to their respective property rights.
A will that is written by hand, sealed in an envelope, and then the envelope is signed by the maker, witnessed and notarized. This type of will is no longer recognized in Louisiana law.
“It must not be altered.” Phrase placed on a note by a notary to identify the note in connection with an act of mortgage. Also used in other types of legal documents.
A will which is dated, signed by the testator on each page, executed before a notary and two witnesses, and which is attested by the testator, witnesses and notary.
An officer authorized to administer oaths and certify signatures. In Louisiana, the notary has many other powers, such as preparing wills.
A will written by the testator. To be valid it must be entirely written, dated and signed in the hand of the testator.
Evidence given by mouth. Often not allowed in court when used to dispute written agreements.
POWER OF ATTORNEY
A written authorization giving another person power to do specific or general acts for the person giving the power.
A judgment that is entered into the court minutes reflecting a request or motion by a plaintiff to recognize that a defendant has not filed an answer or opposition within the time period allowed.
A time period the running of which creates or terminates rights. For example, a suit for wrongful injury usually must be brought within one year or the right to sue is lost. Often called “statute of limitations” -especially in other states.
“For himself.” Applies to a person who is representing himself without an attorney.
A marriage contracted in good faith where one or both parties are ignorant of an impediment which makes the marriage unlawful.
“As much as he deserves.” A right to receive payment for services even when there is no express contract.
Wills made by two or more parties that make similar provisions in favor of each other. In Louisiana, the wills must be separate documents.
The renewal of relations between married people after a separation. A reconciliation during the pendency of a divorce can void the divorce proceedings.
The avoidance of a sale because of a defect in the thing sold which renders the thing useless or so imperfect that it can be presumed that the buyer would not have bought the thing had he known of the defect.
One who creates a trust.
A sale which appears to be genuine but which in fact is intended to defraud creditors or other parties.
A succession that has a gross value of less than $75,000.
A trust that is created with certain provisions that prevent the beneficiary from selling or mortgaging his interest in the trust.
A will which is dated, signed by the testator on each page, executed before a notary and two witnesses, and which is attested by the testator, witnesses and notary. This is now properly called a “Notarial Will”.
The estate of the deceased as well as the act of determining and transferring the estate and rights to the heirs or legatees <197>the successors.
A written disposition of property to take effect after the maker’s death. It is used interchangeably with the term “will” but the strict definition is that of a will of personal property only, not real estate.
A succession in which there is a valid will.
TESTATOR (Female: Testatrix)
The person who makes a will.
A wrong done by one person to another.
A right or property held by one party, the trustee, for the benefit of another, the beneficiary.
TUTOR (Female: Tutrix)
One who has the care of a minor and the administration of his estate. Can be used almost interchangeably with the word “guardian.”
The right to enjoy and use a thing that belongs to another and to take all the income and utility of the thing as long as the substance of the thing is not altered. The usufruct of money or consumeables implies the right to use the thing entirely up.
The written wishes of a person as to the disposition of his property after his death, as to the appointment of his executor, and as to the tutor of his children.
A set of statutes that provide for payments to workers and their dependents when the worker is injured as the result of his employment.