By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD

This is a legal concept that is applied to bar or prevent you from taking a position that contradicts your prior conduct. For example, if you act as if you are a particular persons partner, tell business contacts that the particular individual is your partner, you may be prevented, or "estopped" from arguing that he was not your partner if he obligated the two of you to a business transaction. The concept of estoppel will place you in the position as if the position you permitted to be implied, namely that the other person was your partner, is true. In a real estate context assume you sign a deed to transfer property, but at the time you signed the deed you did not really own the property (have title). If later you actually obtain the ownership of the property, you might be estopped from arguing that you really didn't transfer it with the deed you signed. See also "Estoppel Certificate".

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