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Freehold Estates

Are Estates of indeterminable length. A person may own that a state for lifetime or forever.


What are the three freehold estates that are recognized in New Jersey?

Fee simple
Fee determinable
Life estate


Fee simple estate

And estate in fee simple is the highest type of interest and real estate recognize by law. A fee simple estate is one in which the holder is entitled to all rights in the property


Fee Determinable

In New Jersey a fee determinable (also known as a conditional fee or feasible fee) is an estate in land that can be terminated on the occurrence or nonoccurrence of a specific event. And example is John Smith conveys (transfers title to) 1000 acres to the Jones foundation as long as it is maintained as a “wildlife preserve”. Five years later the Jones foundation decides to build its corporate headquarters on his land. Title (ownership) to the land reverts to Smith or to Smith’s heirs. This future interest is called a possibility of reverted. If Smith’s original conveyance stated that the land will go to Bill Brown or his heirs if the Jones foundation violated terms then Brown would become the remainderman, a third-party named in the instrument.


Life Estate

A life estate is limited to the life of a specific person. The owner of a normal life estate does not have the right to pass on the ownership to heirs, because the life estate ends with the death of the owner. For example, Allan gives a life estate to Betty for as long as she lives. Upon Betty’s death the disposition of the property is governed by Allan’s original conveyance. If Allan maintains a reversionary interested in the property will revert to Allan or his heirs.



An encumbrances is a claim, lien, change, or liability attached to and binding on rel property; it affects or limits it's use, value, or title.


Encumbrances are divided into two general classifications.

1) Liens
2) Physical or usage encumbrances, which include restrictions, easements, licences and encroachments



Is a financial claim against a property that provides security for a debt or obligation of the property owner. If the obligation is not repaid, the lienholder or creditor, has the right to have it paid out of the property, usually from the proceeds of a court sale


Lien classifications

Voluntary or involuntary Lien
General Lien


Voluntary Lien

Is created by the property owner. Ex gives the bank a claim against the real estate for a mortgage loan.
A mortgage is a voluntary Lien.


Involuntary Lien

Is a financial company claim against the property that is imposed without the owners consent. Example Federal Taxes, IRS Taxes are General Involuntary liens.


General Lien

Affects all the property someone owns. Example. Money Judgement, federal estate, state inheritance taxes, & IRS Taxes.


Specific Lien

Is placed against one parcel of Real Estate only. Example Special Assessment liens, Ad Volorem Tax Liens, Mortgage Lien, & Construction liens.


Effects of Liens on Title

The property is not worth as much when it has Liens against it.
Encumbrances run with the land & are still binding after a sale.
But Liens do not survive foreclosure.


Types of Easements

Easement Appurtenant
Easement in Gross
Easement by necessity
Easement by prescription


Easement Appurtenant

Grants rights to the owner of an adjacent parcel of land.
For an easement Appurtenant to exist, there must be two adjacent tracts of land owned by different parties.


Easement in Gross

A utility company owns and easement in gross.


Easement by necessity

If a parcel of property is land locked. This give a person access to their property via someone’s property


Easement by prescription.

An easement acquired by continuous, open, uninterrupted, exclusive, and adverse use of the property for the period of time prescribed by state law. NJ is 20 years


Servient Estate

The tract over which the easement runs.


Dominant Estate

The tract that is to benefit from the easement.



The extension of an improvement beyond the land of the owner, illegally intruding on land of an adjoining owner.



A permission to enter the land of another for a specific purpose. A licence may be withdrawn.


Deed Restriction

Are restrictive clauses added to a deed when property is conveyed that are established by the seller to restrict future owners' use of the property.


Lis pendens

Notice that a lien may be filed


Party wall

Is a wall of a building that straddles the boundary lines between two owners' lots Each lot owners owns half of the wall.