FEE, FEODUM or FEUDUM - Steven J. Coker
From: Steven J. Coker
Date: September 26, 1998

Extracted From:
  by John Bouvier

FEE, FEODUM or FEUDUM, estates. From the French, fief. A fee is an estate which
may continue forever. The word fee is explained to signify that the land, or
other subject of property, belongs to its owner, and is transmissible, in the
case of an individual, to those whom the law appoints to succeed him, under the
appellation of heirs; and in the case of corporate bodies, to those who are to
take on themselves the corporate function; and from the manner in which the body
is to be continued, are denominated successors....
   Estates in fee are of several sorts, and have different denominations,
according to their several natures and respective qualities. They may with
propriety be divided into,

   1. Fees simple.           4. Fees conditional
   2. Fees determinable.     5. Fees tail. 
   3. Fees qualified.

   -1. A fee simple is an estate inlands or tenements which, in reference to the
ownership of individuals, is not restrained to any heirs in particular, nor
subject to any condition or collateral determination except the laws of escheat
and the canons of descent, by which it may, be qualified, abridged or defeated.
In other words, an estate in fee simple absolute, is an estate limited to a
person and his heirs general or indefinite.... The word fee simple is sometimes
used by the best writers on the law as contrasted with estates.... In this
sense, the term comprehends all other fees as well as the estate, properly, and
in strict propriety of technical language, peculiarly distinguished by this
   -2. A determinable fee is an estate which may continue forever.... It is a
quality of this estate while it falls under this denomination, that it is liable
to be determined by some act or event, expressed on its limitation, to
circumscribe its continuance, or inferred by the law as bounding its extent....
   -3. Qualified fee, is an interest given on its, first limitation, to a man
and to certain of his heirs, and not to extend to all of them generally, nor
confined to the issue of his body. A limitation to a man and his heirs on the
part of his father, affords an example of this species of estate....
   -4. A conditional fee, in the more general acceptation of the term, is when,
to the limitation of an estate a condition is annexed, which renders the estate
liable to be defeated.... In this application of the term, either a determinable
or a qualified fee may at the same time be a conditional fee. An estate limited
to a man and his heirs, to commence on the performance of a condition, is also
frequently described by this appellation....
   -5. As to fee-tail, see Tail. 

FEE FARM, Eng. law. A perpetual farm or rent....

FEE FARM RENT, contracts, Eng. law. When the lord, upon the creation of a
tenancy, reserves to himself and his heirs, either the rent for which it was
before let to farm, or at least one-fourth part of that farm rent, it is called
a fee farm rent, because a farm rent is reserved upon a grant in fee....

FEES, compensation. Certain perquisites allowed by law to officers concerned in
the administration of justice, or in the performance of duties required by law,
as a recompense for their labor and trouble....
   The term fees differs from costs in this, that the former are, as above
mentioned, a recompense to the officer for his services, and the latter, an
indemnification to the, party for money laid out and expended in his suit....

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