This section is from the book "Real Property, An Introductory Explanation Of The Law Relating To Land", by Alfred F Topham. Also available from Amazon: The New Law Of Property.
A grant of land to a person will not give him the fee simple unless it is granted to him "and his heirs" or to him "in fee simple."
At common law the word "heirs" was absolutely necessary; but now, by The 'Conveyancing Act, 1881 (f) the words "in fee simple" may be used instead of the words "heirs" (or the words
(l) 44 & 45 Vic. c. 41, s. 51.
"in tail" instead of the words "heirs of his body").
But no other words will do. Any other expression passes a life estate only.
Re Ethel and Mitchell's Contract (1901), 1 Ch. 945.
Land was granted to "Thomas Manton in fee." Held. He took merely a life estate.
(1) A Corporation Sole, e.g. the Rector of a parish. The grant may be made to the Rector "and his successors."
(2) A Corporation Aggregate, e.g. a limited company. No words of limitation are necessary since the corporation never dies.
The land is usually granted to the company "and its assigns."
Estates in fee simple will of course appear again and again throughout this book, but for the present the characteristics of other estates less than the fee simple will be considered.