Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary


1) The removal of a problem that is against public or private policy or that endangers others, including nuisances such as weeds that might catch fire in an otherwise empty lot. 2) An equal reduction of recovery of debts by creditors when there are not enough funds or assets to pay the full amount. 3) A partial or complete cancellation of a taxpayer's taxes, penalties, or interest by the IRS. 4) Reducing the sum owed under a contract, on the grounds that the other side did not deliver as promised. For example, rent may be abated when a landlord has failed to maintain a habitable premises. 5) After a death, an equal reduction in gifts to beneficiaries if the deceased person didn't leave enough property to fulfill all the bequests made in the will and meet other expenses, such as debts or taxes.