Last edited 05 Dec 2016

Fee simple

The term 'fee simple' refer to an individual’s absolute ownership of land. It is the most complete ownership interest an individual can have in real property, and with a fee simple title, the owner has the right to possess, use or dispose of the land as they choose.

The owner of a fee simple title is able to make additions or alterations, subject to bylaws and legal consent requirements. They are also able to sell, gift, or lease the land to others, and to make provisions for its ownership after their death. Restrictive covenants can also be registered on the land by the owner.

The term is derived from the words ‘fee’, which denotes an inheritable interest in land, and ‘simple’, which denotes the fact that, historically, the land could be inherited by ‘general heirs’, i.e. as long as there were heirs to inherit, the estate would last indefinitely.

Legislation introduced in 1925 abolished the concept of the heir, and introduced new statutory inheritance rules. While the idea of the ‘heirs general’ is now somewhat different, fee simple still provides that as long as the will of the previous owner makes provision for new person/s to take the land, then the estate can endure indefinitely.

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