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Estate

heirs, fee, called, tenant, tail, simple, body and freeholds

ESTATE. An estate signifies that title or interest which a man has in lands, tenements, hereditaments, or other pro perty. It is either Real Estate, which comprises lands, tenements, and heredita ments held or enjoyed for an estate of freehold ; or Personal Estate, which com prises interests for terms of years in lands, tenements, and hereditaments, and pro perty of every other description. Personal Estate [Cmurrci.s] goes to the executors, and is liable for payment of debts before Real Estate.

This is the legal signification of Estate, which, as already shown, is not a piece of land or other property, but signifies the relationship of between a man and property. The word was also used in former times to signify men's station (status) or condition in life. It was also used, and is still sometimes used, to sig nify a class or order in a state.

Real Estate may be considered under three heads :—(1) the quantity of estate, 1. e. the amount of interest in the owner; (2) the time when that interest is to com mence; and (3) the quality of estate, or the mode in which it is to be enjoyed.

1. All real estates not being of copy hold tenure [Commix], or what are called customary freeholds, are either of Freehold or less than Freehold. Free holds may be divided into two kinds; freeholds of inheritance, and freeholds not of inheritance. Freeholds of inherit ance admit of a further subdivision, into inheritances absolute, called fees simple, and inheritances limited. called qualified or base fees, and fees conditional. A freehold of inheritance absolute or Fee Simple is the largest estate which a man can have : the owner may freely dispose of it to whom be pleases in his lifetime by deed or by will, and if he dies without making any disposition, it descends to his heir. [Dascarrr.] A qualified or Base Fee has some qua lification or limit annexed, which may determine the estate, as in the instance of a grant to A and his heirs tenants of the manor of Dale. Whenever A or his heirs cease to be tenants of that manor, their estate is determined, that is, is at an end, though during its continuance the pro prietor has the same rights as if he were absolute tenant in fee simple.

A Conditional Fee at common law was a fee restrained to some particular heirs exclusive of others, as to a man and the heirs male of his body, by which limit ation his lineal heirs female and collate ral' were excluded ; and this is the origin of Estates Tail. It was held that if' the

donee, in the case supposed, had no heirs male of his body, or if, after a male child was born, no alienation were made, the land should revert to the donor on the failure of heirs male of the donee's body : in fact, for all purposes of alien ation it was a fee simple, on condition that the donee had male issue. The nobi lity, however, being anxious to preserve their estates in their own families, pro cured the Statute of Westminster the Second, 13 Ed. I. c. 1, commonly called Statute de Donis Conditionalibus, to be made, which enacted that the will of the donor should be observed, and that the land should go to the heirs specified, if there were any, or if none, should revert to the donor. Thus the donor acquired an estate in reversion, which could only be allowed, consistently with the nature of estates in reversion, by considering the conditional fee to be changed into a limited, or, as it is called in technical lan guage, a particular estate. This kind of estate was called an estate tail, from the word talliare, to cut, being as it were a portion cut out of the whole fee. Means were soon however discovered by the in genuity of the lawyers to enable the donee and his heirs of the specified description to cut off the Entail, as it was called.

A Freehold, not of inheritance, is an estate which the owner has for his ows life only, or the life of some other person, or until the happening of some uncertain event. The following are instances : a gift to A until B returns from Rome ; but if the gift had been to A and his heirs until B returns from Rome, the estate would have been a qualified or base fee ; and if B had died without returning from Rome, would have become a fee simple absolute. Some freeholds not of inherit ance, arise from operation of law, as tenant in tail after possibility of issue ex tinct, which is where an estate is limited to A and the heirs of his body to be be gotten on the body of B his wife, which is called an estate tail special, as distin guished from an estate tail general, that is, to A and the heirs of his body, without specifying the woman from whom they must spring. If B dies without children, A is no longer tenant in tail, but tenant in tail after possibility of issue extinct, and, as to the duration of his estate, he is simple tenant for life. As to tenant by courtesy and tenant in dower, see Coun