fee simple


plural fees simple
: a fee without limitation to any class of heirs or restrictions on transfer of ownership

Examples of fee simple in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That is quite different from a determinable fee simple with an executory interest. Virginia Hammerle, Dallas News, 1 May 2023 The fee simple interest in the Lipstick building backs a $272m single-asset/single-borrower CMBS deal, CSMC 2017-LSTK, which has been in special servicing since June, according to Trepp. Debtwire, Forbes, 26 Feb. 2021 The fundamental fee simple right to lease property does not specify a minimum duration of that lease. Anthony Graziano, miamiherald, 16 Mar. 2018 The grantor of the easement and all subsequent owners of the property retain full fee simple ownership of the land, but are bound by the terms of the deed of easement, which is recorded in the Land Records of the county. Erika Butler, The Aegis, 9 May 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fee simple.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fee simple was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near fee simple

Cite this Entry

“Fee simple.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fee%20simple. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Legal Definition

fee simple

fee sim·​ple
plural fees simple
: a fee that is alienable (as by deed, will, or intestacy) and of potentially indefinite duration
especially : fee simple absolute in this entry
fee simple absolute
: a fee that is freely inheritable and alienable without any limitations or restrictions on transfers and that is of indefinite duration

Note: A fee simple absolute is conveyed by language granting the estate “to the grantee and his or her heirs,” “to the grantee, his heirs and assigns,” or “to the grantee.” The term heirs is considered in this context a word of limitation, and so this does not create a future interest in the estate in the heirs but simply makes the estate freely alienable.

fee simple conditional
: a fee granted to an individual and to that individual's descendants which is subject to a reversion or remainder if the grantee has no lineal descendants but which becomes a fee simple absolute and freely alienable upon the birth of a direct descendant see also De Donis Conditionalibus compare fee tail at fee

Note: The fee simple conditional is not recognized in England or the United States except in South Carolina.

fee simple determinable
: a defeasible fee that automatically terminates upon the occurrence of a specified event or condition and which reverts to the grantor compare estate on condition at estate

Note: A fee simple determinable is conveyed by language which states that the estate automatically terminates and reverts to the grantor, and which expresses duration (“so long as,” “until,” “during the time that”).

fee simple on condition subsequent \ -​ˈsəb-​si-​kwənt \
: a defeasible fee that may be terminated by the grantor or assigns upon the occurrence of an event

called also fee simple subject to condition subsequent

Note: A fee simple on condition subsequent is conveyed by language that creates a right of entry or power of termination in the grantor and that expresses condition (“on condition that,” “provided that”).


simple without limitation (as to heirs) and unrestricted (as to transfer of ownership)

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