Freehold Estates

Of the two general categories of estates, the freehold estates offer the higher level of ownership. Within this category, there are two basic classes of freehold estates, which are also further subdivided:

  • Fee simple estate. The most complete form of ownership is the fee simple, which allows the fee simple property owner to pass on the property to heirs or other parties. However, fee simple estates are further divided between fee simple absolute and the more conditional fee simple defeasible.
  • Life estate. Freehold estates that are based on the life of a person are called life estates. The ability of life estate owners to transfer property to heirs and other parties is severely limited. The two basic types of life estates are conventional life estates and legal life estates.

Fee simple estate

Inheritable freehold estates are called fee simple estates. There are two types of fee simple estates, based on their level of full ownership:

  1. Fee simple absolute
  2. Fee simple defeasible
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