Also sometimes called a determinable fee, conditional fee or qualified fee estate, the fee simple defeasible estate is a slightly more restricted for of inheritable, fee simple ownership. The basic restriction of the fee simple defeasible estate is that the ownership interest is conditional on either a current status (condition precedent) or until a new event or status (condition subsequent).
o Condition precedent. A "fee simple subject to condition precedent" is a type of fee simple defeasible estate that requires that a specific condition be met to keep the estate. This type of ownership lasts as long as that condition is satisfied. For example, Felix grants a large parcel of property to the city of Fresno with a "fee simple subject to condition precedent" that the city maintains a school on that property. If the city ever closes down the school, the estate ends; and the property will be returned to Felix or his heirs (reversion interest) or to another group (remainder interest). As long as the condition is met, the city may be free to sell or mortgage the land (as long as that is not one of the conditional restrictions). However, the end of the estate is automatic as soon as the condition ends. o Condition subsequent. A "fee simple subject to condition subsequent" is a type of fee simple defeasible estate that maintains the estate ownership unless an event or situation occurs. Often called a "must not do" or "but if" estate, this version of the fee simple defeasible estate stipulates certain events or conditions that must be avoided. However, if that restricted event or situation does occur, the end of the estate is not necessarily automatic. If the restricted condition does occur, the grantor (or grantor's heirs or a third party) instead has a right of reentry, or a right to take back the property. For example, Hilda gives a Park Avenue penthouse to her niece Jill with a "fee simple subject to condition subsequent" that Jill never commits a felony or allows a felony to be committed in the property. Jill can actually sell this penthouse, but the buyers would be purchasing a fee simple defeasible estate and they have to meet the conditions. During a wild party in the penthouse, the cops arrive and arrest (and later convict) Jill for selling drugs at the party. Hilda now has the right of reentry, or the ability to rescind Jill's ownership interests and take back the penthouse.
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