Forfeit Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Forfeit, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Forfeit?

(v) Forfeit is the losing of the right on any property, article or claim by the intervention of any action or event connected to such right or claim due to a failure to fulfill the legal obligation. A seller can forfeit the advance paid by the buyer if he fails to purchases the property before the agreed date.

History and Meaning of Forfeit

The term "forfeit" has its roots in Middle English and Old French, and originally referred to the losing of property or rights as a penalty for an offense. Today, the legal definition of forfeit relates to the losing of a right or property due to a failure to fulfill a legal obligation. This can happen in a variety of contexts, such as in criminal law where property can be forfeited if it was involved in a crime, or in contract law where a party can forfeit the right to certain funds or property if they do not fulfill their obligations under the contract.

Examples of Forfeit

  1. In a criminal case, a drug dealer might forfeit their car if it was used to transport drugs.

  2. A tenant might forfeit their security deposit if they break the terms of their lease.

  3. A sports team might forfeit a game if they break the rules or fail to show up for the game.

  4. A company might forfeit their right to a tax credit if they fail to comply with certain regulations.

Legal Terms Similar to Forfeit

  1. Confiscation - the seizure of property by the government as a penalty for a crime.

  2. Escheat - the transfer of property to the government if the owner dies without a will or legal heirs.

  3. Lien - a legal claim on property as security for a debt or obligation.