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.
We have seen that a tenant for life could always sell or convey his own estate or interest in the land, and that the purchaser or grantee thereby acquired an estate which would last so long as the original tenant for life lived. The estate which the purchaser thus acquired is called "an estate pur autre vie" (= an estate for the life of another).
Thus, land is granted by X (tenant in fee simple) to A for life.
A sells and conveys his estate in the land to B.
B becomes tenant pur autre vie.
A is called the cestui que vie ( = "he for whose life ").
On the death of a tenant pur autre vie the estate descends (for the rest of the life of the cestui que vie) in the first place to his personal representatives (by virtue of the Land Transfer Act, 1897). And they hold it in trust for the persons to whom he has given it by will - or if he died intestate, in trust -
(1) If the estate was granted to the tenant "and his heirs " for the life of another, then for the heir or other person entitled to the real estate of the tenant pur autre vie;
(2) If the estate was granted to the tenant simply without the words "heirs" or "in fee simple," then for his next of kin or other persons entitled to his personal estate.
The history of this rule is as follows: -
1. At Common Law his estate went either to the "special occupant" or "the general occupant."
Special occupant. - If the estate was granted to the tenant "and his heirs" for the life of another - on the death of the tenant the land went to the heir of the tenant as "special occupant" for the rest of the life of the cestui que vie.
General occupant. - If the estate was granted to the tenant without further words, he had only a life estate, and there was no person entitled to take it on his death. It went, therefore, to the first person who took possession of the land.
Thus, the general occupant was the first person who entered on land held pur autre vie after the-death of the tenant pur autre vie if he died before the cestui que vie.
I.e. In the example given on the last page, if B died before A -
A could not claim the land, for he had parted with his whole interest in it: X could not claim it, for he had conveyed it away for the life of A. B's heir could not claim it, because it was not given to "B and his heirs." Therefore no one was entitled, and the first person who entered on the land could keep it during the rest of A's life.
If, however, A had conveyed his life interest to "B and his heirs," then there could be no difficulty, for the heir of B would take, as special occupant.
2. The Statute of Frauds (u) abolished the general occupant; for it enacted that a tenant pur autre vie might dispose of his land by will; and if he should die intestate then -
(i.) If the land was given to him without words of limitation it should go to his personal representatives.
(ii.) If the land was given to him "and his heirs" it should go to the heir of the tenant pur autre vie as special occupant.
Thus the general occupant can now never take - but the special occupant can still take if (1) the land was given "to A and his heirs," and (2) A dies without disposing of the land by his will.
3. By the Land Transfer Act, 1897.
The land goes to the personal representatives in any case, and they hold it in trust for the heir or next of kin as the case may be.
A Quasi Entail is an estate tail pur autre vie.
Thus, land is granted by X to A for life.
A grants his estate " to B and the heirs of his body."
B has a quasi-entail.
(u) 29 Car. II. c. 3, s. 12.