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.
As a general rule copyholds pass on the death of the copyhold tenant in. the same way as freeholds: they may be devised by will, and pass to the heir on intestacy, and are subject to the debts of the tenant.
But these rules may be altered by the special custom of the manor, and there are also the following general exceptions -
(1) Copyholds do not vest in the personal representatives. - The Land Transfer Act of 1897 does
(g) Conveyancing Act, 1881, s. 3 (2). (h) Copyhold Act, 1894, s. 23. (i) S. 22.
not apply to copyholds, and therefore they pass direct to the customary heir. An equitable estate in copyholds does, however, pass to the executors under that Act.
Re Somerville and Turner,  2 Ch. 583.
Septimus Chatt conveyed the legal estate in certain copyhold land to a mortgagee, and thus became entitled to the equity of redemption (see p. 233), which is an equitable estate. He died in 1901, and his administratrix sold the land.
Held, an equitable estate in copyholds does pass to the personal representative under the Land Transfer Act, 1897, and the sale was good.
(2) The estate of a trustee of copyholds does not pass to his personal representatives.
The provision of the Conveyancing Act, 1881, which caused freehold estates to pass to the personal representatives on the death of a sole trustee, does not now apply to copyholds (k): and consequently the estate of the trustee passes to his customary heir, or to the person to whom he has devised the land by his will.
(3) There is no curtesy in copyholds except by special custom.
When such a special custom exists, the life estate of the husband is usually limited to one half, instead of extending to the whole of the lands.
(4) There is no dower in copyholds except by special custom. When such a custom exists the right of the widow is called "Freebench"
(The widow being allowed her seat by the fireside after the death of the husband). It is usually one half of the lands instead of one third.
The Dower Act, 1833, does not apply to copyholds.
(k) S. 30 of the Conveyancing Act, 1881, originally applied to copyholds, but this was repealed by s. 45 of the Copyhold Act, 1887, which is now replaced by s. 88 of the Copyhold Act, 1894.
Smith v. Adams (1854), 5 D. M. & G. 712.
B, who was an admitted tenant of copyholds, sold them to S, and surrendered the land to the use of S. Thus, S took an equitable estate.
S died, and his widow claimed freebench of one half by the special custom of the manor.
Held, the Dower Act does not apply to copyholds, therefore the widow cannot claim freebench out of equitable estate.
(5) Seizure quousque. - On the death of a tenant the lord of the manor may proclaim his death at the manor court three times: if the heir does not then claim the land, the lord may seize it quousque (="until" he appears).
In some manors the lord is entitled by the special custom to seize it absolutely: but he cannot do this against an infant, a married woman, or a lunatic (l).