LAW 515-001 – Property I

Nature


There are four natures that possessory estates have:

  1. Fee Simple

    A fee simple estate is the most common type. It allows the owner of the estate to keep the land forever or to devise it to someone else to keep forever. A fee simple will not end naturally.

    The words "and his heirs" in a conveyance are the words of limitation that create a fee simple.

    While a fee simple allows the grantee's heirs to inherit the estate, no legally recognizable interest is granted to them.

    Absolute

    Fee simple absolute means that no limitations at all. Fee simple is the only type of estate capable of being absolute, as all other types have inherent limitations.

  2. Fee Tail

    A fee tail estate allows the grantee to posses the land for the remainder of his life, but limits him from selling, giving, or devising the right of possession after his death. Instead the title is automatically inherited by the grantee's next lineal descendant. As it relies on having lineal descendants, at some point the law presumes that one will not be available and the estate will naturally end.

    A fee tail is communicated by the words of limitation "and the heirs of his body."

    Like fee simple, fee tail does not convey any legally recognizable interest to the grantee's heirs.

    Fee tails have been abolished in almost all states. In most states, any fee tail simply becomes a fee simple.

  3. Life Estate

    A life estate allows the right to possess the property for only the grantee's lifetime. It does not pass to the owner's issue on death.

    The words of purchase for a life estate are simply "for life."

    Pur Autre Vie

    Pur autre vie is a duration of a life estate based upon the lifetime of a person other than the possessor.

  4. Term of Years

    A term of years, commonly known as a lease, is an estate for a limited period of time.

    The words of limitation are usually some variation of "for 10 years."

Words of Limitation

Words of limitation tell what kind of limitation, if any, is inherent in the estate.

If no words of limitation are included in the words of purchase, it is assumed because of the state's rules of construction that the grantor conveys all of the rights that he is able to.