This section is from the book "The Law Of Real Property and Other Interests In Land", by Herbert Thorn Dike Tiffany. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise on the Modern Law of Real Property and Other Interests in Land .
If one who has an estate in fee simple, on creating a lesser estate in favor of another by conveyance, undertakes expressly to limit, by the same instrument, an estate in fee simple in his own favor, such limitation is nugatory, as being merely a transfer to himself by himself of. what he already has.9 It is an attempt to give to himself as a remainder what he has as a reversion. Moreover, if, after creating a lesser estate by will, the testator attempts to create an estate in favor of his heir or heirs exactly similar to that which the latter would take by descent, the devise is nugatory. The heir or heirs have, as the representatives of the ancestor, an estate in reversion, and they cannot, by his will, be given this same estate by way of remainder.10 And for substantially similar reasons, it seems, in case the grantor in a conveyance attempts, after creating a particular estate in favor of another, to limit by the same instrument a fee simple estate in favor of the person or persons who would properly take such an estate by
8. Co. Litt, 22b; Preston, Estates, 120; 2 Blackst. Comm. 175; Challis, Real Prop. (3d Ed) p. 83.
9. 2 Blackst. Comm. 176; Leake, Prop, in Land, 315.
10. Post Sec. 487.
The rules above referred to had an important result at common law, in that it prevented the grantor or his heirs, or the testator's heirs, in favor of whom it was sought to limit an estate, from being regarded as having acquired the property by purchase, within the canons of descent,12 and they may now, under some of the state statutes of descent, have results of a similar character.13 In England they have been changed, for the purposes of the rules of descent, by a provision of the Inheritance act, that upon a limitation to the person or heirs of the person conveying or devising the land, the person or persons in favor of whom such limitation is made shall be considered to have acquired the land by way of purchase.14