Subchapter I Creditors and Claims
Subchapter II Debtor’s Duties and Benefits
Subchapter III The Estate

Terms Used In U.S. Code > Title 11 > Chapter 5 - Creditors, the Debtor, and the Estate

  • Adjournment sine die: The end of a legislative session "without day." These adjournments are used to indicate the final adjournment of an annual or the two-year session of legislature.
  • Advice and consent: Under the Constitution, presidential nominations for executive and judicial posts take effect only when confirmed by the Senate, and international treaties become effective only when the Senate approves them by a two-thirds vote.
  • Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
  • Affirmed: In the practice of the appellate courts, the decree or order is declared valid and will stand as rendered in the lower court.
  • Alternate valuation date: The earlier of the date six months after the decedent
  • Amendment: A proposal to alter the text of a pending bill or other measure by striking out some of it, by inserting new language, or both. Before an amendment becomes part of the measure, thelegislature must agree to it.
  • Amortization: Paying off a loan by regular installments.
  • Annual percentage rate: The cost of credit at a yearly rate. It is calculated in a standard way, taking the average compound interest rate over the term of the loan so borrowers can compare loans. Lenders are required by law to disclose a card account's APR. Source: FDIC
  • Annuity: A periodic (usually annual) payment of a fixed sum of money for either the life of the recipient or for a fixed number of years. A series of payments under a contract from an insurance company, a trust company, or an individual. Annuity payments are made at regular intervals over a period of more than one full year.
  • Answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
  • Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
  • Appellate: About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgement of another lower court or tribunal.
  • Appraisal: A determination of property value.
  • Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
  • Assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
  • association: when used in reference to a corporation, shall be deemed to embrace the words "successors and assigns of such company or association" in like manner as if these last-named words, or words of similar import, were expressed. See 1 USC 5
  • Bankruptcy: Refers to statutes and judicial proceedings involving persons or businesses that cannot pay their debts and seek the assistance of the court in getting a fresh start. Under the protection of the bankruptcy court, debtors may discharge their debts, perhaps by paying a portion of each debt. Bankruptcy judges preside over these proceedings.
  • Baseline: Projection of the receipts, outlays, and other budget amounts that would ensue in the future without any change in existing policy. Baseline projections are used to gauge the extent to which proposed legislation, if enacted into law, would alter current spending and revenue levels.
  • Beneficiary: A person who is entitled to receive the benefits or proceeds of a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, or other contract. Source: OCC
  • Bequest: Property gifted by will.
  • Budget authority: Authority provided by law to enter into obligations that will result in outlays of Federal funds. Budget authority may be classified by the period of availability (one-year, multiyear, no-year), by the timing of congressional action (current or permanent), or by the manner of determining the amount available (definite or indefinite).
  • Bureau: means the Bureau of the Census. See 13 USC 1
  • Caucus: From the Algonquian Indian language, a caucus meant "to meet together." An informal organization of members of the legislature that exists to discuss issues of mutual concern and possibly to perform legislative research and policy planning for its members. There are regional, political or ideological, ethnic, and economic-based caucuses.
  • Common law: The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States. It is based on judicial decisions rather than legislative action.
  • Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
  • Congressional Record: The substantially verbatim account of daily proceedings in Congress. It is printed for each day Congress is in session. At the back of each daily issue is the "Daily Digest," which summarizes the day's floor and committee activities.
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
  • corporation: includes associations, joint-stock companies, and insurance companies. See 26 USC 7701
  • county: includes a parish, or any other equivalent subdivision of a State or Territory of the United States. See 1 USC 2
  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • Decedent: A deceased person.
  • Deed: The legal instrument used to transfer title in real property from one person to another.
  • Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
  • Devise: To gift property by will.
  • Discovery: Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
  • Dismissal: The dropping of a case by the judge without further consideration or hearing. Source:
  • domestic: when applied to a corporation or partnership means created or organized in the United States or under the law of the United States or of any State unless, in the case of a partnership, the Secretary provides otherwise by regulations. See 26 USC 7701
  • Donor: The person who makes a gift.
  • Embezzlement: In most states, embezzlement is defined as theft/larceny of assets (money or property) by a person in a position of trust or responsibility over those assets. Embezzlement typically occurs in the employment and corporate settings. Source: OCC
  • employee: shall include a full-time life insurance salesman who is considered an employee for the purpose of chapter 21. See 26 USC 7701
  • Entitlement: A Federal program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or unit of government that meets the eligibility criteria established by law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the Federal Government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled. Social Security and veterans' compensation and pensions are examples of entitlement programs.
  • Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
  • Escrow: Money given to a third party to be held for payment until certain conditions are met.
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • exchanged basis property: means property having a basis determined under any provision of subtitle A (or under any corresponding provision of prior income tax law) providing that the basis shall be determined in whole or in part by reference to other property held at any time by the person for whom the basis is to be determined. See 26 USC 7701
  • Fair market value: The price at which an asset would change hands in a transaction between a willing, informed buyer and a willing, informed seller.
  • Federal Reserve System: The central bank of the United States. The Fed, as it is commonly called, regulates the U.S. monetary and financial system. The Federal Reserve System is composed of a central governmental agency in Washington, D.C. (the Board of Governors) and twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks in major cities throughout the United States. Source: OCC
  • Fee simple: Absolute title to property with no limitations or restrictions regarding the person who may inherit it.
  • Fiduciary: A trustee, executor, or administrator.
  • Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
  • Foreclosure: A legal process in which property that is collateral or security for a loan may be sold to help repay the loan when the loan is in default. Source: OCC
  • foreign: when applied to a corporation or partnership means a corporation or partnership which is not domestic. See 26 USC 7701
  • foreign estate: means an estate the income of which, from sources without the United States which is not effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the United States, is not includible in gross income under subtitle A. See 26 USC 7701
  • foreign trust: means any trust other than a trust described in subparagraph (E) of paragraph (30). See 26 USC 7701
  • Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in injury to another.
  • Garnishment: Generally, garnishment is a court proceeding in which a creditor asks a court to order a third party who owes money to the debtor or otherwise holds assets belonging to the debtor to turn over to the creditor any of the debtor
  • Gift: A voluntary transfer or conveyance of property without consideration, or for less than full and adequate consideration based on fair market value.
  • Grantor: The person who establishes a trust and places property into it.
  • Gross estate: The total fair market value of all property and property interests, real and personal, tangible and intangible, of which a decedent had beneficial ownership at the time of death before subtractions for deductions, debts, administrative expenses, and casualty losses suffered during estate administration.
  • Guarantor: A party who agrees to be responsible for the payment of another party's debts should that party default. Source: OCC
  • Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
  • including: when used in a definition contained in this title shall not be deemed to exclude other things otherwise within the meaning of the term defined. See 26 USC 7701
  • individual: shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development. See 1 USC 8
  • individual retirement plan: means &mdash. See 26 USC 7701
  • Injunction: An order of the court prohibiting (or compelling) the performance of a specific act to prevent irreparable damage or injury.
  • Interest rate: The amount paid by a borrower to a lender in exchange for the use of the lender's money for a certain period of time. Interest is paid on loans or on debt instruments, such as notes or bonds, either at regular intervals or as part of a lump sum payment when the issue matures. Source: OCC
  • international organization: means a public international organization entitled to enjoy privileges, exemptions, and immunities as an international organization under the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U. See 26 USC 7701
  • Joint resolution: A legislative measure which requires the approval of both chambers.
  • joint return: means a single return made jointly under section 6013 by a husband and wife. See 26 USC 7701
  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • Jurisprudence: The study of law and the structure of the legal system.
  • Juror: A person who is on the jury.
  • Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
  • Legacy: A gift of property made by will.
  • Liabilities: The aggregate of all debts and other legal obligations of a particular person or legal entity.
  • Lien: A claim against real or personal property in satisfaction of a debt.
  • Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
  • Majority leader: see Floor Leaders
  • Majority whip: See Whips.
  • marriage: means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word "spouse" refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. See 1 USC 7
  • Minority leader: See Floor Leaders
  • Minority whip: See Whips.
  • Mortgage: The written agreement pledging property to a creditor as collateral for a loan.
  • National Bank: A bank that is subject to the supervision of the Comptroller of the Currency. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department. A national bank can be recognized because it must have "national" or "national association" in its name. Source: OCC
  • National Credit Union Administration: The federal regulatory agency that charters and supervises federal credit unions. (NCUA also administers the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, which insures the deposits of federal credit unions.) Source: OCC
  • Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
  • officer: includes any person authorized by law to perform the duties of the office. See 1 USC 1
  • Oversight: Committee review of the activities of a Federal agency or program.
  • paid or accrued: shall be construed according to the method of accounting upon the basis of which the taxable income is computed under subtitle A. See 26 USC 7701
  • partner: includes a member in such a syndicate, group, pool, joint venture, or organization. See 26 USC 7701
  • Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
  • partnership: includes a syndicate, group, pool, joint venture, or other unincorporated organization, through or by means of which any business, financial operation, or venture is carried on, and which is not, within the meaning of this title, a trust or estate or a corporation. See 26 USC 7701
  • person: shall be construed to mean and include an individual, a trust, estate, partnership, association, company or corporation. See 26 USC 7701
  • Personal property: All property that is not real property.
  • Precedent: A court decision in an earlier case with facts and law similar to a dispute currently before a court. Precedent will ordinarily govern the decision of a later similar case, unless a party can show that it was wrongly decided or that it differed in some significant way.
  • Public debt: Cumulative amounts borrowed by the Treasury Department or the Federal Financing Bank from the public or from another fund or account. The public debt does not include agency debt (amounts borrowed by other agencies of the Federal Government). The total public debt is subject to a statutory limit.
  • Public law: A public bill or joint resolution that has passed both chambers and been enacted into law. Public laws have general applicability nationwide.
  • Quorum: The number of legislators that must be present to do business.
  • Real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
  • Recess: A temporary interruption of the legislative business.
  • Recourse: An arrangement in which a bank retains, in form or in substance, any credit risk directly or indirectly associated with an asset it has sold (in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles) that exceeds a pro rata share of the bank's claim on the asset. If a bank has no claim on an asset it has sold, then the retention of any credit risk is recourse. Source: FDIC
  • Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
  • Rescission: The cancellation of budget authority previously provided by Congress. The Impoundment Control Act of 1974 specifies that the President may propose to Congress that funds be rescinded. If both Houses have not approved a rescission proposal (by passing legislation) within 45 days of continuous session, any funds being withheld must be made available for obligation.
  • respondent: includes a corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, proprietorship, society, joint stock company, individual, or other organization or entity which reported information, or on behalf of which information was reported, in response to a questionnaire, inquiry, or other request of the Bureau. See 13 USC 1
  • Restitution: The court-ordered payment of money by the defendant to the victim for damages caused by the criminal action.
  • Secretary: means the Secretary of Health and Human Services. See 42 USC 201
  • Secretary: means the Secretary of Commerce. See 13 USC 1
  • Secretary: means the Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate. See 26 USC 7701
  • Secretary of the Treasury: means the Secretary of the Treasury, personally, and shall not include any delegate of his. See 26 USC 7701
  • Service: means the Public Health Service. See 42 USC 201
  • Settlement: Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
  • shareholder: includes a member in an association, joint-stock company, or insurance company. See 26 USC 7701
  • State: includes , in addition to the several States, only the District of Columbia, Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. See 42 USC 201
  • State: shall be construed to include the District of Columbia, where such construction is necessary to carry out provisions of this title. See 26 USC 7701
  • Statute: A law passed by a legislature.
  • Statute of limitations: A law that sets the time within which parties must take action to enforce their rights.
  • stock: includes shares in an association, joint-stock company, or insurance company. See 26 USC 7701
  • Subpoena: A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
  • taxable year: means the calendar year, or the fiscal year ending during such calendar year, upon the basis of which the taxable income is computed under subtitle A. See 26 USC 7701
  • taxpayer: means any person subject to any internal revenue tax. See 26 USC 7701
  • temporary: shall be construed to mean not in excess of one year, or not in excess of the specific period during which appropriations are available for the conduct of a particular census, whichever is longer. See 13 USC 24
  • Testify: Answer questions in court.
  • Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
  • Tort: A civil wrong or breach of a duty to another person, as outlined by law. A very common tort is negligent operation of a motor vehicle that results in property damage and personal injury in an automobile accident.
  • trade or business: includes the performance of the functions of a public office. See 26 USC 7701
  • transaction: includes a series of transactions. See 26 USC 7701
  • Transcript: A written, word-for-word record of what was said, either in a proceeding such as a trial or during some other conversation, as in a transcript of a hearing or oral deposition.
  • Trustee: A person or institution holding and administering property in trust.
  • Truth in Lending Act: The Truth in Lending Act is a federal law that requires lenders to provide standardized information so that borrowers can compare loan terms. In general, lenders must provide information on Source: OCC
  • Uniform Commercial Code: A set of statutes enacted by the various states to provide consistency among the states' commercial laws. It includes negotiable instruments, sales, stock transfers, trust and warehouse receipts, and bills of lading. Source: OCC
  • United States: when used in a geographical sense includes only the States and the District of Columbia. See 26 USC 7701
  • United States person: means &mdash. See 26 USC 7701
  • Usury: Charging an illegally high interest rate on a loan. Source: OCC
  • Variable Rate: Having a "variable" rate means that the APR changes from time to time based on fluctuations in an external rate, normally the Prime Rate. This external rate is known as the "index." If the index changes, the variable rate normally changes. Also see Fixed Rate.
  • vehicle: includes every description of carriage or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on land. See 1 USC 4
  • vessel: includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water. See 1 USC 3
  • whoever: include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals. See 1 USC 1
  • withholding agent: means any person required to deduct and withhold any tax under the provisions of section 1441, 1442, 1443, or 1461. See 26 USC 7701
  • writing: includes printing and typewriting and reproductions of visual symbols by photographing, multigraphing, mimeographing, manifolding, or otherwise. See 1 USC 1