Glossary E

easement – The right to use another person’s property for a specific, limited purpose.

elect against a will
– A petition to the court by a surviving spouse which asks it to disregard the deceased spouse’s will and award the surviving spouse an amount of the estate set by law.

elective share amount – The amount, set by law, that a spouse will collect if he or she elects against the spouse’s will; the particular amount varies depending upon the number of years of marriage.

Emancipate – to set free from the power or authority of another. For example, children are normally emancipated (from the governance of their parents) at the age of 18.

Eminent domain
– The power of the state to take a citizen’s land without the citizen’s consent. The government provides monetary compensation to citizens whose land is taken through eminent domain.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
– A Federal Act which governs the funding, vesting, administration and termination of private pension plans.

escrow account – In landlord-tenant relations, a bank account in which a tenant deposits rent money during a pending legal action concerning the rental property. The landlord may not get the money until a particular condition is fulfilled.

estate – The sum of a person’s personal property, land, and debts.

estate recovery
– In Medicaid, the practice by which states attempt to recoup the costs of long-term care and related services by filing a claim against the estate of the Medicaid recipient after his or her death.

executor – A person appointed to carry out the instructions of a will.