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 .
The word "heirs" is not, it seems, necessary for the creation of an equitable fee simple, even when necessary for the creation of a legal fee simple, it being sufficient that an intention to create such an interest is otherwise indicated.17
14a. Doe v. Considine, 6 Wall. (U. S.) 458, 18 L. Ed. 869; West v. Fitz, 109 111. 425; North v. Philbrook, 34 Me. 532; Hawkins v. Chapman, 36 Md. 83; Newhall v. Wheeler,.7 Mass. 189; Gould v. Lamb, 11 Mete. (Mass.) 84, 45 Am. Dec. 187; Wilcox v. Wheeler, 47 N. H. 488; Bennett v. Garlock, 79 N. Y. 302, 35 Am. Rep. 517; McMichael v. McMichael, 51 S. C. 555, 29 S. E. 403; 1 Perry, Trusts, Sec.Sec. 312-320.
15. Neilson v. Lagow, 12 How. (U. S.) 98, 13 L. Ed. 909; Angell v. Rosenbury, 12 Mich. 241, 266.
16. 1 Perry, Trusts, Sec. 316.
16. In England, in deeds, as distinguished from wills, the presence or absence of the word
"heirs" appears usually to have the same effect in the case of a conveyance to trustees as when made to others. 1 Perry, Trusts, Sec. 319; Underhill, Trusts (7th Ed.) 196; Lewis v. Rees, 3 Kay & J. 132. See post Sec. 106(g).
17. Fisher v. Field, 10 Johns. (N. Y.) 495; Holmes v. Holmes, 86 N. C. 205; Fulbright v. Yoder, 113 N. C. 456, 18 S. E. 713; Brat-ton v. Massey, 15 S. C. 277; Foster v. Glover, 46 S. C. 522, 24 S. E. 370; Hayward v. Ormsbee, 11 Wis. 3; Re Tringham's Trusts (1904) 2 Ch. 487; Lewin, Trusts (12th Ed.) 124. Contra, McElroy v. McElroy, 113 Mass. 509; Nelson v. Davis, 35 Ind. 474.
48 Real, Property. [Sec. 21 fee simple by conveyance inter vivos has been generally recognized, in the absence of any statutory provision to the contrary.18 But in the majority of the states the rule has been abolished by statutes dispensing with the necessity of the word, or providing in effect that a deed shall be presumed to convey a fee simple, or whatever estate the grantor has, unless a contrary intention plainly appear;19 and in England it is now provided that the use of the words "in fee simple" without the word "heirs" shall be sufficient to convey a fee-simple estate.20
- (b) In will. In the case of a devise of land, it has always been considered that, even in the absence of the word "heirs," any language in the will showing an intention to devise a fee simple is sufficient to pass such an estate.21 It has accordingly been held that, unless a contrary intention appears, a devise of one's "estate" located at a certain place,22 or of "all" his
18. Foster v. Joice, 3 Wash. C. C 498, Fed. Cas. No. 4,974; Ed wardsville R. Co. v. Sawyer, 92 111. 377; Hoffsass v. Mann, 74 Md. 400, 22 Atl. 65; Buffum v. Hutcn-inson, 1 Allen (Mass.) 58; Claflin v. Boston & A. R. Co., 157 Mass. 489, 20 L. R. A. 638, 32 N. E. 659; Reaume v. Chambers, 22 Mo. 36; Melick v. Pidcock, 44 N. J. Eq. 525, 540, 6 Am. St. Rep. 901, 15 Atl. 3; Mattocks v. Brown, 103 Pa. St. 16; Lanham v. Haynes, 101 S. C. 424, 85 S. E. 966.
Contra in New Hampshire and North Carolina. Cole v. Lake Co.. 54 N. H. 242, 279; Carolina Real Estate Co. v. Bland, 152 N. C. 225, 67 S. E. 483. And see Ross v. Adams, 28 N. J. L. 160, rev'd 30 N. J. L. 505, 82 Am. Dec. 237.
19. 2 Sharswood & B. Lead. Cas. Real Prop. 56; 1 Stimson's Am. St. Law Sec. 1474. The common law requirement still controls, it seems, in Connecticut, Delaware,
Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, South Carolina and Vermont.
The statutory abolition of the rule obviously cannot affect conveyances executed before the pas sage of the statute, and conse quently, even where it is abolished, there is still frequent occasion for its application in the examination of titles, extending back of the date of the particular statute. .
20. 44 & 45 Vict. c. 41 (Conveyancing Act 1881) Sec. 51. See Chal-lis, Real Prop. 223.
21. Co. Litt. 9b; 2 Blackst. Comm. 108; Wright v. Denn, 10 Wheat. (U. S.) 204, 6 L. Ed. 303; McCaffrey v. Manogue, 196 U. S. 563, 49 L. Ed. 600; Robinson v Randolph, 21 Fla. 629; Bassett v. Nickerson, 184 Mass. 169, 68 N. E. 25; Tatum v. McLellan, 50 Miss. 1.
22. Lambert v. Paine, 3 Cranch (U. S.) 97, 2 L. Ed. 377; Leland
"estate,"23 or of his "property," with reference to particular land or to the testator's possessions generally,24 though without the word "heirs" or other words of limitation, will vest a fee simple in the devisee; such expressions being regarded as descriptive of the quantity of interest intended to he conveyed. The same effect has been given to a devise to a person "in fee simple," or "forever,"25 to a devise without words of limitation, with an absolute power of disposition in the devisee,26 and to such a devise with merely a charge or duty imv. Adams, 9 Gray (Mass.) 171; Robinson v. Randolph, 21 Fla. 629.
23. Godfrey v. Humphrey. 18 Pick. (Mass.) 537; Jackson v. Merrill, 6 Johns. (N. Y.) 185; Forsaith v. Clark, 21 N. H. 409.
24. Lincoln v. Lincoln, 107 Mass. 590; Fogg v. Clark, 1 N. H. 163; Foster v. Stewart, 18 Pa. St. 23; Arnold v. Lincoln, 8 R. I. 384.
So in the case of a devise of all his "real and personal property." Morrison v. Semple, 6 Bin. (Pa.) 94; Crossman v. Field, 119 Mass. 170.
25. Co. Litt. 9b; 2 Blackst Comm. 108.
26. Lewis v. Palmer, 46 Conn 454; Markillie v. Ragland, 77 111 98; Cameron v. Parish, 155 Ind 329, 57 N. E. 547; In re Weien's Will, 139 Iowa 657, 18 L. R. A. (N. S.) 463, 116 N. W. 791; Wat kin's Adm'r v. Watkins Ex'rs (Ky. L. Rep.), 120 S. W. 341; Shaw v. Hussey, 41 Me. 495; Welsh v. Gist, 101 Md. 606, 61 Atl. 665; Burbank v. Whitney, 24 Pick (Mass.) 146, 35 Am. Dec. 312; Kelley v. Meins, 135 Mass. 231; Tisdale v. Prather, 210 Mo. 402 109 S. W. 41; Brohm v. Berner (N. J. L.), 77 Atl. 517; Terry v.
Wiggins, 47 N. Y. 512; Griffin v. Commander, 163 N. C. 230, 79 S. E 499; Caslow v. Stransbaugh, 233 Pa. 69, 81 Atl. 927; Behrens v. Baumann, 66 W. Va. 56, 66 S. E. 5, 27 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1092, 66 S. E. 5; 4 Kent, Comm. 319; 2 Jarman, Wills (6th Am. Ed.), 1131, note.
But that one was given a power of sale has occasionally been referred to as tending to show that his estate was for life rather than in fee simple. Kent v. Morrison, 153 Mass. 137, 10 L. R. 9. 756, 25 Am. St. Rep. 616, 26 N. E. 427; Angel v. Wood, 153 Ky. 195, 154 S. W. 1103; Skinner v. Spann. 175 Ind. 672, 95 N. E. 243, 93 N. E. 1061. And so as to a general power to appoint by will. Ware v. Minot, 202 Mass. 512, 88 N. E. 1091.
That a special power was given to a devisee to distribute among a certain class of persons was in one case held to show that she took a life estate only, in spite of a statute creating a presumption in favor of a devise of a fee simple. Stableton v. Ellison, 21 Ohio St. 527. Contra, Brook v. Brook, 3 Sm. & G. 280. In Brookover v. Branyan, 185 Ind. 1, 112 N. E. 769, 770, that a limited power of disposed on the devisee personally in regard to the payment of money, to enable him to discharge which an estate for life might not be sufficient, though not if the charge is imposed on the land alone.27
From the character of these decisions, it would appear that the courts are, even in the absence of any statute on the subject, solicitous to seize on any indication of intention to give the devisee an estate in fee simple.28 But the intention should, in the absence of a statute changing the rule, appear in some way on the face of the will, and only a life estate will pass, in theory at least, if there is no expression from which such intention can be inferred.29 And it has been sometimes said that there must be words from which an intention to pass a fee may necessarily be implied.30
The rule which prevails in the case of conveyances that the estate conveyed to a trustee will be measured by the necessities of the trust, regardless of the presence or absence of words of inheritance, applies a fortiori in the case of wills.31
- Statutory provisions. In England and most of the states there is now a statute changing the common law rule applicable to wills, and providing that a devise of land shall pass or be construed to pass a fee simple, position is given is regarded as showing that the devisee was intended to have a life estate merely.
27. 6 Cruise's Dig. tit. 38, c 13, Sec.Sec. 26-34; 2 Jarman, Wills, 1131; Wright v. Denn, 10 Wheat. (U. S.) 204, 231, 6 L. Ed. 303; Jackson v. Bull, 10 Johns. (N. Y.) 148; Funk v. Eggleston, 92 111. 515, 34 Am. Rep. 136; Parker v. Parker. 5 Mete. (Mass.) 134; Snyder v. Nesbitt, 77 Md. 576, 26 Atl. 1006; King v. Cole, 6 R. I. 584.
28. For numerous applications of this principle in favor of the devisee, see 2 Sharswood & B.
Lead. Cas. Real Prop. 57-73.
29. See Fenstermaker v. Hol-man, 158 Ind. 71, 62 N. E. 699; Gibson v. Brown, 62 Ind. App. 460, 112 N. E. 894, 110 N. E. 716; Young v. Norris Peters Co., 27 App. Cas. (D. C.) 140; Jackson v. Wells, 9 Johns. (N. Y.) 222.
30. Wheaton v. Andress, 23 Wend. (N. Y.) 452; Goodright v. Barron, 11 East, 220.
31. Chamberlain v. Thompson, 10 Conn. 243, 26 Am. Dec. 390; Steacy v. Rice, 27 Pa. St. 75, 67 Am. Dec. 447; Ellis v. Fisher, 3 Sneed (Tenn.) 231, 65 Am. Dec. 52.
Or all the testator's interest in the land, unless a contrary intention appears from the words of the will;32 the presumption which formerly obtained that only a life estate was intended to pass, unless the contrary appeared, being thus reversed.33