Fee (Simple Absolute) – the broadest property interest allowed by law; exclusive, hereditable ownership

fee simple absolute:
(18c)

1. An estate of indefinite or potentially infinite duration (e.g., “to Albert and his heirs”). — Often shortened to fee simple or fee. — aka fee simple absolute in possession. [1]

     Excerpt from Thomas F. Bergin & Paul G. Haskell’s Preface to Estates In Land and Future Interests (2d ed. 1984):

     “Although it is probably good practice to use the word ‘absolute’ whenever one is referring to an estate in fee simple that is free of special limitation, condition subsequent, or executory limitation, lawyers frequently refer to such an estate as a ‘fee simple’ or even as a ‘fee.’ [2]

fee simple:
(15c)

1. An interest in land that, being the broadest property interest allowed by law, endures until the current holder dies without heirs; especially, a fee simple absolute. — Often shortened to fee. — aka estate in fee simpletenancy in fee; fee-simple title; exclusive ownership; feudum simplex; estate in fee. See AND HIS HEIRS. [1]

     Excerpt from Peter Butt’s Land Law (2d ed. 1988):

     “[Fee simple] is a term not likely to be found in modern conversation between laymen, who would in all probability find it quite unintelligible.  Yet to a layman of the 14th century the term would have been perfectly intelligible, for it refers to the elementary social relationship of feudalism with which he was fully familiar: the words ‘fee’ and ‘feudal’ are closely related. . . . The estate in fee simple is the largest estate known to the law, ownership of such an estate being the nearest approach to ownership of the land itself which is consonant with the feudal principle of tenure.  It is ‘the most comprehensive estate in land which the law recognizes’; it is the ‘most extensive in quantum, and the most absolute in respect to the rights which it confers, of all estates known to the law.’  Traditionally, the fee simple has two distinguishing features:

first, the owner ( ‘tenant’ in fee simple) has the power to dispose of the fee simple, either inter vivos or by will;
second, on intestacy the fee simple descends, in the absence of lineal heirs, to collateral heirs — to a brother, for example, if there is no issue. [3]

     Excerpt from Robert E. Megarry & M.P. Thompson’s A Manual of the Law of Real Property (6th ed. 1993):

     “Fee simple.  Originally this was an estate which endured for as long as the original tenant or any of his heirs survived. ‘Heirs’ comprised any blood relations, although originally ancestors were excluded; not until the Inheritance Act 1833 could a person be the heir of one of his descendants.  Thus at first a fee simple would terminate if the original tenant died without leaving any descendants or collateral blood relations (e.g., brothers or cousins), even if before his death the land had been conveyed to another tenant who was still alive.  But by 1306 it was settled that where a tenant in fee simple alienated the land, the fee simple would continue as long as there were heirs of the new tenant and so on, irrespective of any failure of the original tenant’s heirs. Thenceforward a fee simple was virtually eternal. [4]

fee:
(second definition)

2. A heritable interest in land; especially, a fee simple absolute. — aka fee estate; feod; feodum; feudfeudum; fief. [1]

     Excerpt from Thomas F. Bergin & Paul G. Haskell’s Preface to Estates in Land and Future Interests (2d ed. .1984):

     “To enfeoff someone was to transfer to him an interest in land called a fief — or, if you prefer, a feoff, feod, or feud. Our modern word fee, a direct lineal descendant of fiefimplies the characteristic of potentially infinite duration when used to describe an interest in land today; but in the earliest part of the feudal period, in a fief might have been as small as a life interest.  We shall. see later that feoffment was not used to transfer interests ‘smaller’ than life interests: e.g., so-called terms for years — but for our purposes now we may simply note that transfers of interests for life or ‘larger’ were accomplished by livery of seisin. [5]

Types of Fee:

Arriere Fee – a fee dependent on a superior one; a subfief. — aka arriere fief.

Fee Expectant – a fee tail created when land is given to a man and wife and the heirs of their bodies.

Historical Terms:

Great Fee – historically, in feudal law, a fee received directly from the Crown.

Knight’s Fee – historically, the amount of land that gave rise to the obligation of knight service.

Lay Fee – a fee interest in land held by ordinary feudal tenure, generally for use in agricultural labor.

Plowman’s Fee – a species of tenure for peasants or small farmers by which the land descended in equal shares to all the tenant’s sons.

Types of Qualified Fee:

Base Fee – a fee that has some qualification connected to it and that terminates whenever the qualification terminate.  aka determinable fee.limited fee.

Fee Simple Defeasible – an estate that ends because there are no more heirs of the person to whom it is granted or because a special limitation, condition subsequent, or executory limitation takes effect. — aka defeasible fee simple; qualified fee.

Fee Simple Determinable – an estate that will automatically end and revert to the grantor if some specified event occurs. — aka determinable fee; qualified fee; fee simple subject to common-law limitation; fee simple subject to special limitation; fee simple subject to special interest; base fee; estate on limitation.

 

Quasi-Fee – an estate in fee acquired wrongfully.

Fee Simple Conditional – an estate conveyed to a man conditionally upon his having an heir.

Fee Simple Subject to a Condition Subsequent – an estate subject to the grantor’s power to end the estate if some specified event happens.

I» fee simple subject to an executory limitation. (1856) A fee simple defeasible that is subject to divestment i favor of someone other than the grantor if a specifed event happens (e.g., “to Albert and his heirs, but if t n property is ever used as a parking lot, then to Bob”). Also termed fee simple su ject to an executory interest.

I» fee simple subject to a power of termination. Seefee simple subject to a condition subsequent.

b fee simple subject to common-law limitation. Seefee simple determinable.

v fee simple subject to special interest. See fee simple determinable.

> fee simple subject to special limitation. See fee simple determinable.

v fee simple upon condition. See fee simple subject to a condition subsequent.

fee-simple title. See FEE SIMPLE.

fee-splitting. (1913) 1. The division of attorney’s fees between two or more lawyers, esp. between the lawyer who handled a matter and the lawyer who referred the matter. 0 Some states consider this practice unethical. 2. The division of attorney’s fees between two or more lawyers who represent a client jointly but are not in the same iirm. 0 Under most states’ ethics rules, an attorney is prohibited from splitting a fee with a nonlawyer. Also termed fee-sharing; division of fees.

fee statement. (1941) A lawyer’s bill for services either already rendered or to be rendered, usu. including itemized expenses.

fee tail. (15c) An estate that is heritable only by specified descendants of the original grantee, and that endures until its current holder dies without issue (e.g., “to Albert and the heirs of his body”). 0 Most jurisdictions -except Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island -have abolished the fee tail. Also termed entailed estate; estate tail; estate in tail; estate in fee tail; tenancy in tail; entail; feodum talliatum. See ENTAIL; TAIL.

“The old legal estate tail was throughout its history invariably associated with family settlements, and in particular with marriage settlements. . . . Medieval landowners sought to achieve [familial continuity and status] by perfecting a single estate which in itself would conform to three require‘ ments: (1) While it should be an estate of inheritance it should devolve on lineal heirs only, and not on collaten als in other words that it should descend only to the heirs of the body of the first grantee. (2) As a corollary, the estate should be such that if at any time the first grantee’s issue should fail the estate itself should come to an end and the land revert to the original settlor or his heirs. (3) No owner of the estate for the time being should have power to dispose of the land in such a way as to prevent it descending on his death to the next heir of the body of the original grantee. All this was attempted by limiting land, not to ‘A and his heirs,’ which would give A a fee simple, but to ‘A and the heirs of his body.m 1 Stephen’s Commentaries on tide 4.625%? of England 150 (L. Crispin Warmington ed., 21st e . .

“if we cannot resist the temptation to say that De Donis permitted the creation of tailor-made estates, we can at least argue that it is not a pun. Our word ‘tailor’ and the word ‘tail,’ as used in ‘fee tail,’ come from the same

premises”). 0 The future interest retained by the grantm is called a power of termination (or a right of entry).

Abbr. FSSCP. Also termed fee simple on a condition subsequent; fee simple subject to a power ofterminaliim,

fee simple upon condition.

I» fee simple subject to an executory limitation. (1856) A fee simple defeasible that is subject to divestment i favor of someone other than the grantor if a specifed event happens (e.g., “to Albert and his heirs, but if t n property is ever used as a parking lot, then to Bob”). Also termed fee simple su ject to an executory interest.

I» fee simple subject to a power of termination. Seefee simple subject to a condition subsequent.

b fee simple subject to common-law limitation. Seefee simple determinable.

v fee simple subject to special interest. See fee simple determinable.

> fee simple subject to special limitation. See fee simple determinable.

v fee simple upon condition. See fee simple subject to a condition subsequent.

fee-simple title. See FEE SIMPLE.

fee-splitting. (1913) 1. The division of attorney’s fees between two or more lawyers, esp. between the lawyer who handled a matter and the lawyer who referred the matter. 0 Some states consider this practice unethical. 2. The division of attorney’s fees between two or more lawyers who represent a client jointly but are not in the same iirm. 0 Under most states’ ethics rules, an attorney is prohibited from splitting a fee with a nonlawyer. Also termed fee-sharing; division of fees.

fee statement. (1941) A lawyer’s bill for services either already rendered or to be rendered, usu. including itemized expenses.

fee tail. (15c) An estate that is heritable only by specified descendants of the original grantee, and that endures until its current holder dies without issue (e.g., “to Albert and the heirs of his body”). 0 Most jurisdictions -except Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island -have abolished the fee tail. Also termed entailed estate; estate tail; estate in tail; estate in fee tail; tenancy in tail; entail; feodum talliatum. See ENTAIL; TAIL.

“The old legal estate tail was throughout its history invariably associated with family settlements, and in particular with marriage settlements. . . . Medieval landowners sought to achieve [familial continuity and status] by perfecting a single estate which in itself would conform to three require‘ ments: (1) While it should be an estate of inheritance it should devolve on lineal heirs only, and not on collaten als in other words that it should descend only to the heirs of the body of the first grantee. (2) As a corollary, the estate should be such that if at any time the first grantee’s issue should fail the estate itself should come to an end and the land revert to the original settlor or his heirs. (3) No owner of the estate for the time being should have power to dispose of the land in such a way as to prevent it descending on his death to the next heir of the body of the original grantee. All this was attempted by limiting land, not to ‘A and his heirs,’ which would give A a fee simple, but to ‘A and the heirs of his body.m 1 Stephen’s Commentaries on tide 4.625%? of England 150 (L. Crispin Warmington ed., 21st e . .

“if we cannot resist the temptation to say that De Donis permitted the creation of tailor-made estates, we can at least argue that it is not a pun. Our word ‘tailor’ and the word ‘tail,’ as used in ‘fee tail,’ come from the same 

source the French tailler, to cut. The word ‘tail’ in ‘fee

tail’ has nothing to do with that which wags the dog. The

estate in fee tail was a cut estate ._…. either cut in the sense that the collateral heirs were cut out, or cut in the sense that the estate was carved into a series of discrete lifed possession periods to be enjoyed successively by A and his lineal heirs. . . . We know of no state in the United States that recognizes the estate in fee tail in its strict 1285-4472 form. Wherever it is recognized, the tenant in tail in pas-v session may disentail it by simple deed.” Thomas F. Bergin & Paul G. Haskell, Preface to Estates in Land and Future interests 30, 32 (2d ed. 1984).

v fee tail general. (16c) A fee tail that is heritable by all of the property owner’s issue by any spouse. 0 Formerly, a grant “to A and the heirs of his body” created a fee tail general. “‘ . .

b fee tail special. (17c) A fee tail that restricts the eligibility of claimants by requiring a claimant to prove direct descent from the grantee and meet the special condi-‘I tion in the grant. 0 For example, the words “to A and the heirs of his body begotten on his wife Mary” meant that only descendants of A and Mary could inherit; A’s children by any other wife were excluded. An estate tail special could also be restricted to only male or only

female descendants, as in “to A and the heirs male of his body.”

References:

Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is pertinent to people everywhere, and is being utilized in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]: Thomas F. Bergin & Paul G. Haskell, Preface to Estates In Land and Future Interests 24 (2d ed. 1984).

[3]: Peter Butt, Land Law 35 (2d ed. 1988).

[4]: Robert E. Megarry & M.P. Thompson, A Manual of the Law of Real Property 4-25 (6th ed. 1993).

[5]: Thomas F. Bergin & Paul G. Haskell, Preface to Estates in Land and Future Interests 11 (2d ed. .1984).

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