Fee simple

Definition of Fee simple

Typically, words "fee simple” standing alone create an absolute estate in devisee and such words followed by a condition or special limitation create a defeasible fee. Babb v. Rand, Me., 345 A.2d 496, 498.

Absolute. A fee simple absolute is an estate limited absolutely to a person and his or her heirs and assigns forever without limitation or condition. An absolute or fee-simple estate is one in which the owner is entitled to the entire property, with unconditional power of disposition during one’s life, and descending to one’s heirs and legal representatives upon one’s death intestate. Such estate is unlimited as to duration, disposition, and descendibility. Slayden v. Hardin, 257 Ky. 685, 79 S.W.2d 11, 12.

The estate which a man has where lands are given to him and to his heirs absolutely without any end or limit put to his estate. 2 Bl.Comm. 106. The word "fee,” used alone, is a sufficient designation of this species of estate, and hence "simple” is not a necessary part of the title, but it is added as a means of clearly distinguishing this estate from a fee-tail or from any variety of conditional estates. Fee-simple signifies a pure fee; an absolute estate of inheritance clear of any condition or restriction to particular heirs, being descendible to the heirs general, whether male or female, lineal or collateral. It is the largest estate and most extensive interest that can be enjoyed in land.

Conditional. Type of transfer in which grantor conveys fee simply on condition that something be done or not done. A defeasible fee which leaves grantor with right of entry for condition broken, which right may be exercised by some action on part of grantor when condition is breached.

At common law an estate in fee simple conditional was a fee limited or restrained to some particular heirs, exclusive of others. But the statute "De donis” converted all such estates into estates tail. 2 Bl.Comm. 110.

Defeasible. Type of fee grant which may be defeated on the happening of an event. An estate which may last forever, but which may end upon the occurrence or nonoccurrence of a specified event, is a "fee simple defeasible”. Newbern v. Barnes, 3 N.C.App. 521, 165 S.E.2d 526, 530.

Determinable. A "fee simple determinable” is created by conveyance which contains words effective to create a fee simple and, in addition, a provision for automatic expiration of estate on occurrence of stated event. Selectmen of Town of Nahant v. U. S., D.C.Mass., 293 F.Supp. 1076, 1978.

That's the definition of Fee simple in Black's Law Dictionary 6th Edition. Courtesy of Cekhukum.com.