A “conveyance” is the transfer of an interest in real property, such as a home or commercial real estate. A conveyance occurs when the owner of property, a grantor, uses words of conveyance to transfer an interest in property to a grantee, the person receiving the property.

Types of Real Property Conveyances

Traditionally, there are four recognized conveyances of real property. Although there are variations within the four types, Courts will not recognize the transfer if the language of the conveyance does not fit within one of the four categories. The four recognizable conveyances are:

Fee Simple Absolute (or Fee Simple)

This is the broadest property interest. The holder of a fee simple has both the present and future interest in the property. At any time the holder can sell all or any part of the property or will the property at his/her death.

Fee Tail

A fee tail is a conveyance of property meant to keep the property interest in the bloodline of the individual receiving the interest. Only Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island recognize fee tails.

Life Estate

A life estate is an interest in property measured by the duration of an individual’s life, usually the the person receiving the property. The interest in a life estate ends upon the measuring life’s death.

Fee Simple Defeasible

A fee simple defeasible is one that may have conditions or limitations placed on the interest. If the conditions or limitations are violated, then the property interest may either go back to the original owner or a specified third party.

Should I Seek a Property or Estate Lawyer?

Most property interests are in fee simple absolute. If, however, you are a the owner of property looking to preserve a future interest in a conveyed property, then the services of an experienced estate lawyer would be beneficial. Alternatively, if you are the holder of an interest in a fee tail, life estate, or fee simple defeasible, then a lawyer would be able to tell your rights and responsibilities in your interest.