Estate in fee simple absolute in possession (‘freehold estate’)

Understanding the old law

The fee simple is the larger of the two legal estates, in that it is of greater duration. The technical name describes the characteristics of the estate as it existed before 1 January 1926. This is the date a number of statutes pass by Parliament in 1925 came into force and made considerable changes to the law relating to property. As a result, some of the characteristics off the fee simple estate were changed but the old name continues to be used. The following is therefore a brief explanation as to what the words mean under the old law. 

‘Fee simple’

It is this phrase which really causes the difficulty because of the changes made by the 1925 legislation. The word ‘fee’ denoted an inheritable interest in land and the word ‘simple’ tells us that the estate could be inherited by the ‘general heirs.’ This means that the estate would last as long as there were heirs to inherit.

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For more information on:

  • ‘Absolute’
  • ‘In possession’
  • Effect of 1925 legislation