Select Page

Property I
SUNY Buffalo Law School
Steinfeld, Robert J.

           
The System of Estates
Estate in Land – describes horizontal relationship, it measures time, how long one is entitled to hold land:
1.      Fee Simple-potentially hold forever
2.      Fee Tail- hold until blood line runs out
3.      Life Estate- right to hold property to one’s life is over
4.      Lease Hold- monthly, yearly lease
no longer need touse the words to A and her heirs to create a fee simple it is assumed that an owner of a fee simple doesn’t explicitly indicate otherwise, presumption is giving all that she owns
 
 
Problem Page 202
 
 In 1600/ 1998 O conveys Blackacre to A for life B forever
         Old Rule- if A and his heirs do not appear no fee simple, by default life estate
·         A has only a life estate, B life estate
Modern Rule- do not have to state to her heirs in order to create a fee simple if    owns a fee simple presumes that one is giving a fee simple
·         A would have a life estate, B would have a fee simple
 
 
Heirs             v.               Issues
 
 
all of one’s                  immediate lineage children,
family members           grandchildren, great grandchildren
 except in the old
days did not include
wife
 
                        A              W
 
            B                  C
 
 D            E        F          G
 
-if A dies while B and C alive, B and C take half of what A had, in modern law Wife 
 would take a percentage
-if B dies before A, D and E get 25% each by right of representation
-if have no issue (children, grandchildren) goes up, first to parents if they are dead then to siblings
White v. Brown
-Lide left a will giving all her property to her White and her daughter to keep the house until she dies
-Lide’s nieces and nephews say Lide only gave White a life estate so they have a reversion
-Issue: does White have a life estate or fee simple
 
Majority Argument
1.      presumes that a person wants to give all that they have, Lide had a fee simple thus gave White a fee simple
2.      if only giving a life estate would generally give a gift over to someone else
to A for life then to B, Lide didn’t give a gift over to someone else
            Dissents Argument
                  -with holding the power to alienate, thus cannot be creating a fee simple
        because naturally when giving a fee simple give the power to alienate
 
Legal Arguments    v.    Policy Arguments
            policy argument, appeal to reasoning , why judges go one way or another a socially good outcome, White lived with Lide so should get a fee simple Lide try to provide a place for White to live, and if White had to sell the property and have to spilt $ with nieces and nephews she would not have enough $ to live.
 
 
Problem Page 202                                                                   O no will
2.-O has no will, intestate and has daughter A and son B     A      B,dies
 -B dies testate and gives everything to his wife        A1           B1         B2          B3
-A has a son A1                                                          son      daughter   son   daughter
-B has B1 daughter, B2 son and B3 daughter
 
Who owns Blackacre in 1800?
old rule land inherited to eldest son if eldest son is dead then to first-born son
B2 owns Blackacre
 
Under Modern Law?
property goes to intestate succession, A takes 50%, B1, B2, B3 gets 1/3 by right representation
 
3. O conveys Blackacre to A and her heirs, if A dies intestate without issue will Black acre escheat to the state, No because there could be other heirs
4. O conveys Blackacre to A for life remainder to B and his heirs, B then dies intetsate without heirs A then dies . Who owns Blackacre?
            A has a possessory life estate, B and his heirs has a remainder in fee simple
B’s remainder escheat to the state
 
Difference between 3+4, 3 says without issue but can still have heirs and 4 says without heirs
Problems page 204 continue
 
5. if wanted to make sure Sarah’s heirs on her father side did not get property convey the following ways: remember: if create a fee simple it is inheritable on both sides
Solution 1
create a fee tail in Mass. on can still create a fee tail, fee tail to the heirs of her body,
but there is a problem with this, the rule in Mass about fee tail is that one can disentail, but cannot disentail in a will, create a fee simple to her lawyer then have her lawyer convey a fee simple back to her
Solution 2
give Sarah a life estate then leave the to the heirs on her mother side, these words will serve as words of purchase and words of limitations
 
 
 
Fee Tails
-are used to tie up property and keep property in the family
-Fee tails are abolished except in: Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island
 
O conveys to A and the heirs of her body
A’s interest is not alienable
 O retains a reversion because a fee tail has an ending point, when line runs out
 
Fee Tails Modern Times, States Without Fee Tails
O conveys to my son A and the heirs of his body and if A dies without issue to my daughter B and her heirs
A and his heirs have a possessory interest in fee tail
B has a fee simple
 
Category/Rule1 States
§         A has a fee simple , B has nothing
§         A destroys interest in B, the first person gets a fee simple
 
Category/Rule 2 States
§         at A’s death will decide what will happen to B’s interest
§         if A dies without issue B gets a fee simple
§         if A dies with issue B’s interest is destroyed
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fee Tail Problems, page 209
 
3. O conveys Blackacre, located in Massachusetts, to A and the heirs of her body
    A dies leaving her only child B as her sole heir
    B dies without having children, devising all his property to C
 
What is the state of the title?
            O conveys a fee tail to A
            O has a reversion
*cannot disentail in a will, must do

$1 from year 1 to year 10 to get $10 would not be correct because you must
discount to the present value
 
-discount to present value
            75cents yield a $1 in 10 years
            77cents yields a $1 in 9 years
            79cents yields a $1 in 8 years
            etc.
Trust
-today must life estates are created in trust
-trust flourish so much because lots of things you can accomplish thru a trust that you cannot do otherwise: avoid probate, taxes etc
 
Broadway Nat’l Bank v. Adams: spend thrift trust income paid twice a year, creditors wanted trustee to pay them instead of the brother, ct says creditors cannot stop income stream of a trust. However cannot create a spend thrift trust for one’s self
 
 
Trustee: holds the property in trust for the benefit of a life tenant and the remainder interest
            – trustee has an obligation to deal with the assets as a prudent person
            -trustee has the power to change the way assets take place, land to stocks or bonds
 
Beneficiaries: have an equitable interest
 
 
Law of Waste
-limits what a tenant in possession of property can do so not to harm people with future interest
 
-want people to use the property so that cost is not more than the benefit
 
-greater interest in the property less rigorous are the laws of waste
-shorter the interest in the property the more rigorous the laws of waste
 
-affirmative waste: significantly destroy the property that will come into someone else’s possession
-permissive waste: negligence, letting property fall apart, let taxes go
Fee Simples that Are Endable/ Defeasible
 
-fee simples has the potential to last forever no natural ending point but they can be cut short
1.      Fee Simple Determinable, FSD
§         not giving the whole fee simple holding back the possibility of reverter
§         it ends automatically if condition is broken, and reverts back to the grantor/owner
§         language to create a FSD, the limitations are built in the conveyance
o       so long as
o       while it is used as
 
2.      Fee Simple Subject to a Condition Subsequent, FSSCS
§         Grantor gives grantee a whole fee simple, but if grantee stops using the property the grantor may take it back
§         hold back right of entry or power of termination
§         must go throw legal process to retake the land