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Legalese From A to Z: 5 Legal Terms Beginning With 'K'

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. | Last updated on
Legalese From A to Z - FindLaw

In the event that someone ever uses sticks and stones to break your bones, not only will words never hurt you, they can actually be very helpful in pursuing a lawsuit to recover for your injuries.

Learning the specialized language of the legal system, known as legalese, gives you the ability to understand and use the law to your advantage, either on your own or with the help of an attorney.

To help you get a grasp of this legal language, our series Legalese From A to Z breaks down legalese letter by letter. This week, we look at some legal terms that start with the letter "K":

  • Kidnapping. Though you likely know that kidnapping is the taking of a person from one place to another against his or her will, you may not know that the crime of kidnapping does not always require the use of force or threat of force. Kidnapping can also be committed by the use of fraud.
  • Kin. Kin refers to anyone who is a legal relative of another person. Kinship can be measured in degrees, counting the number of generations separating two people either through direct descendancy or through a common ancestor. Degree of kinship can come into play legally in the distribution of the estate of someone who has died without a will through a process called intestate succession. Under intestate succession, the estate of a person without a spouse may pass to the nearest degree of surviving kin.
  • Knock and announce rule. Knock and announce is a rule of criminal procedure that typically requires law enforcement serving a warrant to announce their presence and purpose before executing that warrant, unless they risk harm by doing so or they have obtained a no-knock warrant.
  • Knowledge. Legally it's possible to have knowledge of something you don't actually know. Constructive knowledge is knowledge that someone using ordinary diligence would possess. Ignorance may be bliss, but legally it may not always be a valid defense.

If you need help with defining a legal word or phrase, check out FindLaw's Legal Dictionary for free access to more than 8,000 definitions of legal terms. Or just wait for next Sunday, when Legalese From A to Z will demystify five more legal terms you may not know, beginning with the letter "L."

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