I. Estates in Land
1. Fee simple absolute
2. Fee tail
3. Defeasible fees
4. The life estate
1) What language creates the estate?
2) Once identified, what are the estates distinguishing attributes.
-Is the state divisible (can it pass by will)? Is the state descendable (will it by the statutes of intestisee)?
-If its holder happens to die without a will?
-Is this estate alienable (Is it transferable inter vivos or during its holder’s lifetime)?
3) Is there a future interest to accompany the estate?
A. Fee Simple Absolute
-To create it “to A or to A and his heirs”. Today, the mere conveyance “to A” creates the fee simple absolute and not “his heirs is not needed.”
-Absolute ownership of potentially infinite duration.
-Present possessory freehold estate: Best estate is the fee simple absolute. It is freely descendible, and is freely alienable.
-Is there a future interest to accompany the fee simple absolute? No.
Ex. Say O conveys to A and his heirs. A is alive. What do A’s heirs have? Nothing. A living person has no heirs. A living person only has prospective heirs.
Cole v. Steinlauf
-Case where there was a cloud over the title of the deed and plaintiff (Cole) did not want to take the deed because he was unsure if there was a fee simple absolute.
-The deed here does not include the heirs.
-Who might make a claim to own this property? O’s heirs may try to claim the property.
-The predecessor only has the property for life—Steinlauf would then only have the property for the length of the predecessor’s life.
-We assume that this property was sold to Steinlauf.
-Trial court said is that what we have to do is decide whether or not this deed did or did not convey a fee simple absolute.
-The difference in the trial court’s determination and the Supreme Court’s determination is whether there is enough doubt or uncertainty to require repay Cole and not force Cole to take the deed. The issue is not whether there was fee simple or not.
-In order to rid of this cloud over the property, Steinhauf would have to find O’s heirs.
-Steinhauf would bring a “quiet title action” (sue) against the heirs.
-Steinhauf would have to make the best efforts to find these heirs. He would have to publish this lawsuit in the newspaper. If they can’t find the heirs, they would try the title.
-There was a cloud on this title because someone may file a claim for an interest of this property.
B. Fee Tail
-To A and the heirs of his body. (need a
To A for so long as the Marlins remain the world series champions.
-Grantor must use clear durational language.
-If the stated condition is violated, forfeiture is automatic.
-Fee simple determinable is pretty harsh because when the
a. What are the fee simple determinable distinguishing attributes?
-Descendable (can pass down heirs)
-Suppose Paul conveys Blackacre to Ringo as long as the premises are used as a studio. Say Ringo gives this to Mick Jager and Mick wants it to be a bowling alley. Mick will not get a fee simple absolute because the condition follows.
b. Is there a future interest? Yes. Possibility of reverter which is in O the grantor.
FSDPOR: Fee Simple Determinable Possibility of Reverter: (Frank Sinatra Didn’t Prefer Orvilee Redenbocker).
Mahrenholz v. County Board of School Trustees (p.6)
Facts: The Huttons conveyed land to the School Board (D) “to be used for school purposes only.” However, the school used the land for storage.