FEE, FEODUM or FEUDUM
FEE, FEODUM or FEUDUM, estates. From the French, fief. A fee is an estate which may continue forever. The word fee is explained to signify that the land, or other subject of property, belongs to its owner, and is transmissible, in the case of an individual, to those whom the law appoints to succeed him, under the appellation of heirs; and in the case of corporate bodies, to those who are to take on themselves the corporate function; and from the manner in which the body is to be continued, are denominated successors. 1 Co. Litt. 1, 271, b; Wright's Ten. 147, 150; 2 Bl. Com. 104. 106; Bouv. Inst. Index h. t.
2. Estates in fee are of several sorts, and have different denominations, according to their several natures and respective qualities. They 'may with propriety be divided into, 1. Fees simple. 2 . Fees determinable. 3. Fees qualified. 4. Fees conditional and 5. Fees tail.
3. - 1. A fee simple is an estate inlands or tenements which, in reference to the ownership of individuals, is not restrained to any heirs in particular, nor subject to any condition or collateral determination except the laws of escheat and the canons of descent, by which it may, be qualified, abridged or defeated. In other words, an estate in fee simple absolute, is an estate limited to a person and his heirs general or indefinite. Watk. Prin. Con. 76. And the omission of the word `his' will not vitiate the estate, nor are the words "and assigns forever" necessary to create it, although usually added. Co. Litt. 7, b 9, b; 237, b Plowd. 28, b; 29, a; Bro. Abr. Estates, 4. 1 Co. Litt. 1, b; Plowd. 557 2 Bl. Com. 104, 106 Hale's Analysis, 74. The word fee simple is sometimes used by the best writers on the law as contrasted with estates tail. 1 Co. Litt. 19. In this sense, the term comprehends all other fees as well as the estate, properly, and in strict propriety of technical language, peculiarly' distinguished by this appellation.
4. - 2. A determinable fee is an estate which may continue forever. Plowd. 557; Shep. Touch. 97. It is a quality of this estate while it falls under this denomination, that it is liable to be determined by some act or event, expressed on its limitation, to circumscribe its continuance, or inferred by the law as bounding its extent. 2 Bl. Com. 109. Limitations to a man. and his heirs, till the marriage of such. a person shall take place; Cro. Jac. 593; 10 Vin. Abr. 133; till debts shall be paid; Fearne, 187 until a minor shall attain the age of twenty-one years 3 Atk. 74 Ambler, 204; 9 Mod. 28 10 Vin. Abr. 203. Feariae, 342; are instances of such a determinable fee.
5. - 3. Qualified fee, is an interest given on its, first limitation, to a man and to certain of his heirs, and not to extend to all of them generally, nor confined to the issue of his body. A limitation to a man and his heirs on the part of his father, affords an example of this species of estate. Litt. 254 1 Inst. 27, a 220; 1 Prest. on Estates, 449.
6. - . A conditional fee, in the more general acceptation of the term, is when, to the limitation of an estate a condition is annexed, which renders the estate liable to be defeated. 10 Rep. 95, b. In this application of the term, either a determinable or a qualified fee may at the same time be a conditional fee. An estate limited to a man and his heirs, to commence on the performance of a condition, is also frequently described by this appellation. Prest. on East. 476; Fearne, 9. 7. - 5. As to fee-tail, see Tail.