Fee simple or easement?
The vast majority of real estate titles held by individuals and entities, private and public, consist of estates in fee simple, which by definition, are freely transferable by the owner or holder thereof. In most real estate transactions, the question of whether the title to the property that is the subject of purchase agreement negotiations between a prospective buyer and seller is transferable does not arise. However, in the event that the estate or interest of the seller is an easement or a fee simple determinable, which is limited to certain purposes, such as that of railroad right of way or right of flood control by operation of a dam, the interest will be non-transferable to a purchaser that commences a use that is not within the original scope of the grant. This white paper reviews the risk to the purchaser of such interests and discusses how the prospective purchaser satisfies itself before entering into the purchase agreement.
Duane H. Wunsch
Fidelity National Title Group, Inc.
- Wisconsin State Counsel for Fidelity National Title Group
- Over 30 years of experience, including searching and examining titles, closing transactions, and handling title insurance claims
- Member of the State Bar of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Bar Association
- Past president of the Wisconsin Land Title Association
- J.D. degree, Emory University; B.A degree, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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