A reversion, or estate in reversion, is an estate the owner of which, without disposing of the estate itself, has deprived of the right of present possession by creating a less estate in favor of another. If A, having an estate in fee simple, creates an estate in fee tail, for life, or for years, in favor of B, without disposing of his own estate, A thereafter has an estate in fee simple "in reversion" instead of an estate in fee simple "in possession," as he had before creating the lesser estate in favor of B. The fee simple estate in A remains the same after the creation of the lesser estate as before, but A is without the right of immediate possession, because this he has transferred to B. The possession will, however, revert to A upon the termination of B's lesser estate, and for this reason A's estate is said to be an estate in reversion or, as it is more usually termed, a reversion. Such an estate is evidently, not a future estate, but an actually existent estate, a present estate, deprived of the right descent from him, or in favor of his own heirs eo nomine, such limitation is invalid, and he is regarded as himself having the reversion in fee simple.11 Were the rule otherwise, the heir or heirs would take by purchase from their ancestor, while they properly take from him by decent.

1. In this chapter we consider several classes of interests in land, the common characteristic of which is, that while they do not give the immediate possession, they involve either a possibility, or an assured prospect, of a right of possession in the future. These various interests are ordinarily grouped under the generic appellation of "future estates" or "future interests," or occasionally, "estates in expectancy." These expressions are however all more or less misleading. In so far as any of these interests are estates, they are present and not future estates, and likewise, in so far as any of these interests are not estates, they are present and not future interests, being in effect present interests based on the possibility or prospect of the acquisition of an estate in the future. The expression estates in expectancy is open to the same objection as is future estates. The interests considered are to a great extent not estates, and in so far as they are estates they are present estates and not estates in expectancy. These considerations, the applicability of which will more clearly appear as we consider in turn the

Real Property.

[Sec. 129 of immediate possession.2 A reversion is similar to a vested remainder in that it is an estate deprived of the right of immediate possession by reason of the existence of another estate, but that other estate is not created by the same instrument, as in the case of a vested remainder

An estate in reversion may exist by reason of the creation of a lesser estate, not only by one having a fee simple estate, but also by one having an estate for life or for years. For instance, if one having a life estate creates an estate for years, even for ninety-nine years, or nine hundred and ninety-nine years, he still has his life estate, since a life estate is in theory always greater in quantum than an estate for years.3 After the creation of such estate for years, the life estate, previously an estate in possession, is an estate in reversion. So if one having an estate for years creates an estate in favor of another for a less period, his estate becomes an estate in reversion. If, however, he creates an estate in favor of another which will endure as long as his own estate, he in effect disposes of his own estate. In this latter case he makes an assignment, as distinguished from a sublease, as before explained.4

An estate may acquire the character of a reversion by the creation, not only of a lesser estate in favor of various classes of these interests, has led the present writer to adopt, as the title of this chapter, the expression "Rights and Possibilities of Future Possession" in place of that employed by him in the previous edition of this work, "Future Estates and Interests." He ventures to refer, in this connection, to an article by him in 29 Law. Quart. Rev. 290, in which he undertook to criticize statements by leading English writers in reference to the subject matter or this chapter.

2. That a reversion is a present estate is in effect stated in

Williams, Real Prop. (18th Ed.)

309; Digby, Hist. Real Prop. (4th

Ed.) 238; Cruise's Dig. tit. 17, Sec.

13; Edwards, Prop, in Land. (4tb

< Ed) 94.

3. Co. Litt 46a; Leake, Prop, in land, 316. But this theory in not in accord with the view which has been asserted, that one having a term of years may create therein a life estate with remainder. See post, Sec. 173, note 33.

4.' Ante, Sec. 55 (a).

■ another person, but also of two or more lesser estates in favor of two or more persons. For instance, if one seised in fee simple conveys, by one and the same instrument, an estate for life to A, an estate for life to B, an estate for life to C and an estate in fee tail to D, since he does not thereby dispose of his fee simple estate, he has an estate in fee simple in reversion, that is, the possession will, by virtue of his estate in fee simple, revert to him so soon as all the lesser estates are out of the way5

There is, as stated in connection with the subject of estates for years, an "imperfect" tenure between the owner of a reversion and of the lesser estate, this differing from the perfect tenure which could be created before the statute of Quia Emptores, in that the services, almost invariably a rent at the present time, are incident to the reversion, while in the perfect tenure the services were incident to the lord's seignory.6 .

The lesser estate, by reason of the creation of which the greater estate becomes an estate in reversion, is referred to as a particular estate, on the theory, it is said,7 that it is but a part (particula) of the inheritance or fee simple. But though the lesser estate is but a part of the entire fee simple, in the sense that it represents a right of possession for a limited time only, while the entire fee simple represents a right of possession which will endure forever, the particular estate, so called, is not, properly speaking, a part of the estate of the grantor. As before stated, the estate of the grantor continues the same after as before the creation of the particular estate, except that it is deprived of the right of present possession, and this would not be the case if, by the creation of the particular estate, the grantor divested-himself of part of his estate. For in5. Co. Litt. 45b, 46b; 2 Blackst. Comm. 176; 2 Cruise, Dig. tit. 17, Sec. 2.

6. Leake, Prop, in Land 42, viously created.16 For instance, the owner of an estate in reversion upon a life estate may create another life estate in favor of a third person, which life estate cannot, however, confer any right of possession until the first life estate is out of the way.

317; Williams Real Prop. (21st Ed) 334; Gray, Perpetuities Sec. 22. 7. 2 Blackst. Comm. 165; Williams, Real Prop. 332.

Real Property.

[Sec. 130 stance, taking the case of A, a tenant in fee simple, creating an estate for life in B, if this estate for life were actually a part of A's estate, A's estate would be to that extent reduced in quantum, and would not commence until B's life estate ceases. In other words A, would have, not an estate, but merely a possibility of an estate. And taking the case of a tenant for twenty years making a lease for ten years, if the lesser estate were actually a part of the greater, the lessor would nave a reversion of but ten years, while as a matter of fact he has a reversion for twenty years. In view of these considerations, the statement quite frequently made,8 that a reversion is a part of the grantor's previous estate, cannot well be accepted.