PROPERTY LAW Eric V. Hull, J.D., LL.M. Professor of Law Classes 10 and 11: Estates in Land (Part I)
William the Conqueror Battle of Hastings
Unifying Theme: Fragmentation of Ownership Property law has evolved to encourage more than one person to have an interest in (own) the same piece of real property at the same time. Right to possession now (present interest-estate). Right to possession in the future (future interest-estate).
Today, we recognize that only the state owns an absolute interest in land and that all others hold of the state . Modern property law also recognizes the concept that ownership consists of both rights and responsibilities . May a state take “your” land, even if you “own” it outright? May a state regulate how you use “your” land? May a state prevent you from using your land in some way?
Estates in land: The concept of estates in land follows from the tenure concepts. The “owner” has a right to possession for some period. Thus, the key is to accurately describe (measure) that right.
∞ Keys to identifying an estate in land : Identify when possession starts , and when it ends (if ever). Some estates are automatically (or may be) terminated upon the occurrence of a specified event or upon the non-occurrence of a specified event. Other estates may go on forever (absent state intervention). Deed to Blackacre
3 Possessory Freehold Estates 1. Fee simple 2. Fee tail 3. Life estate
Fee Simple Absolute
Fee = estate Simple = estate is inheritable by general heirs and is fully transferable inter vivos. Absolute = there is no limitation on the estate that would keep it from enduring potentially forever. Fee Simple (Absolute) : Note: A fee simple estate has the potential to last forever, but it may not under certain circumstances. See later discussion on defeasible estates.
Creating a Fee Simple Absolute Common law : Grantor had to use specific words. O, owner of Blackacre in fee simple absolute, to A and his heirs. O, owner of Blackacre in fee simple absolute, to A and her heirs. If grantor did not use the key words, the grantee d not receive land in fee simple absolute. Modern view : Most states have enacted fee simple presumption statutes that construe ambiguous language to convey a fee simple absolute absent some indication to the contrary. Ex. O, owner of Blackacre in fee simple absolute, to A. A gets land in fee simple absolute .
Words of purchase: words in a conveyance which operate to designate a conveyee (designate the person(s) who is/are to receive the grant). Words of limitation: describe the extent, or quality, or duration of the estate grantee(s) acquires.
Words of Purchase and Words of Limitations O to A, and her heirs . Are the heirs entitled to anything immediately? If words and her heirs are words of purchase , then heirs of A are given an interest by the conveyance from O.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 43 pages?
- Fall '08
- Life estate, Fee simple, Real property law