Property 1 - Rights in Land/Classification of Estates Flashcards Preview

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3 Types of Fee Estates

1. Absolute 2. Defeasible 3. Tail


Fee Simple Absolute

Best of the best. You and your heirs will own the property forever, no conditions or restrictions.


Common law language to create Fee Simple Absolute

"To x and his/her heirs." Saying only 'i leave it to x' would only create a life estate.


Modern law way for creating Fee Simple Absolute.

Fee simple absolute is presumed. Only have to say, "I leave it to X"


Defeasible Estates

An estate that will terminate upon the happening of some occurrence or event.


Fee Simple Determinable

Whenever the grantor uses durational language; language that speaks to the duration the estate is to last. E.g. "so long as" "while" "until"


How does fee simple determinable terminate.

Automatically on the happening of a named future event.


Fee Simple Subject to Condition Subsequent

Whenever a grantor uses conditional language. NOT an automatic creation. E.g. "but if" "on condition that" "provided that"


3 Types of Present Estates

1. Fee 2. Life 3. Term


Ambiguous language in Defeasible Estates

Will be treated as an attempt to create a Fee Simple Subject to a Condition Subsequent. To create an Fee Simple Determinable you should use unambiguous language.


Fee Simple Subject to Executory Interest

Can be created by either durational or conditional language. On the happening of the event that will terminate the fee estate, the property passes to a THIRD PARTY.


Fee Tail - Common Law

Was an attempt to limit ownership of the property to lineal descendants of the grantee. You couldn't transfer the property to a friend.


Fee Tail - Modern Law

Vast majority of jrdx have outlawed Fee Tail. If you see the language it would just be considered a Fee Simple Absolute.


Life Estate

A life estate lasts for the duration of someone's life. Usually the life of the grantee. Can be made defeasible.


Life Estate per autre vie

A life estate where the measuring life is someone other than the grantee.


Term Estate

Any granting of a limited period of ownership of land other than when it is measured by someone's life. Essentially a landlord/tenant relationship.


Possibility of Reverter

The future interest that is automatically created in the grantor whenever the grantor hands out a fee simple determinable.

E.g. "A to B so long as B farms the land." creates the possibility of reverter in the grantor for the period of B's life.


Creation of Possibility of Reverter

Possibility of Reverter is automatically created when the FSD is handed out. If the condition happens, then the FSD automatically terminates and the property automatically goes back to the grantor.


Possibility of Reverter at Common Law

Could not be transferred inter vivos by the grantor. It could only pass to the grantor's heirs by will or descent.


Possibility of Reverter under Modern Law

A majority of jrdx hold that a possibility of reverter can be transferred to anyone.


Right of Reentry (Power of Termination)

The reversionary interest that CAN be created in the grantor when the grantor attempts to hand out a Fee Simple on Condition Subsequent.


Creation of Right of Reentry

Is not automatic. It is only created if the conveyance spells it out and provides for that right of reentry.

E.g.: "A to B provided that B uses the premises for residential purposes. If B doesn't use the premises for residential purposes, A has the right of reentry."


Exercising Right of Reentry

If conveyance doesn't have magic language, it doesn't terminate B's ownership of the land. It's interpreted as a contractual promise on the part of B. If B doesn't use the property for residential purposes, B would be liable to A for damages for the breach of contract, but B doesn't lose the property.

If you have the magic language, it's still not an automatic termination. There is no termination until the grantor or the grantor's heirs exercise the right of reentry and actually go and take the property.


Right of Reentry at Common Law

The RoR could not be transferred inter vivos, had to pass to your heirs either by will or descent.


Right of Reentry under Modern Law

Majority of jrdx allow free transfer of the RoR to anyone.



Is the future interest that is automatically created in the grantor whenever the grantor makes out a conveyance that fails to provide ownership of the property in perpetuity. A conveyance always has to provide for ownership in perpetuity, if there's ever a gap, reversion fills that gap.


Executory Interest

Is a future interest created in a third party that cuts short the preceding estate before it would have naturally terminated.

Since a fee estate has the potential to last forever, any interest created in a 3rd party that follows the granting of a fee will always be an executory interest.

E.g.: "A to B so long as liquor is never served on the premises. If it ever is served, property will pass to C." C has an executory interest.


Shifting Executor Interest

Is a situation where the property moves from ownership from one third party to another.

E.g. "A to B so long as B uses the property for residential purposes. If B ever stops using for residential purposes, to C." Shifts the property from grantee B to grantee C.


Springing Executory Interest

Where property moves from ownership of a grantor to a third party.

E.g. "A to B for life. Then 20 years after B's death, to C." B has a life estate. When B dies, property reverts back to grantor. Then 20 years later, transfers to C.



A future interest created in a third party that follows naturally the termination of the preceding estate.

E.g. "A to B for life, then to C." C has a remainder.