An estate in land is that duration of ownership which one has therein.
A person may own property absolutely or own a limited estate therein. There are many estates. From the following section and the chapters just following we may gain a clear conception of the meaning of this term.
Estates may be tabulated as follows:
A. Present Estates.
I. Freehold Estates.
(1) Estates in fee, that is, estates without limitation in time.
1. Fee simple estates, being estates that upon death of the owner without a will go to his heirs generally.
2. Estates in fee tail, being estates that went on down perpetually to a class of heirs. 66
(2) Life estates.
a. Estates for one's own life.
b. Estates for the life of another.
2. Legal life estates.
a. Estates of dower.
(1) Estates for years.
(2) Estates from year to year.
(3) Estates at will and by sufferance.
B. Future Estates.
(1) Vested remainders.
(2) Contingent remainders. II. Estates in Reversion.
This table is not strictly logical as the future estates in reversion and remainder are also to be classed as estates in fee simple. But it is the table usually employed and fairly indicates the various legal estates. In subsequent chapters we discuss all of these estates.
A freehold estate may be defined as any estate which may last a life time and may be of inheritance. Life estates and estates in fee, are freehold estates.
Any estate less than the fee and less than a life state, is called an estate less than freehold. A lease for 99 years is less than freehold.