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[Middle English, fief, from Old French fé fief, ultimately from a Germanic word akin to Old High German fehu cattle]
1 : an inheritable freehold estate in real property
: fee simple compare leasehold life estate at estate
: a fee granted with no restrictions or limitations on alienability
: fee simple absolute at fee simple
: a fee that is subject to a condition: as
a : fee simple conditional at fee simple
b : fee simple on condition subsequent at fee simple
: a fee that is subject to terminating or being terminated
: a defeasible fee that terminates automatically upon the occurrence of a specified event
: fee simple determinable at fee simple
: a fee simple absolute that is granted by a patent from the U.S. government
: a patent that grants a fee simple absolute [the land shall have the same status as though such fee patent had never been issued "U.S. Code"] NOTE: Allotments of parcels of land in reservations are held in private ownership by fee patents.
: a fee which is granted to an individual and to that individual's descendants, which is subject to a reversion or a remainder if a tenant in tail dies with no lineal descendants, and which is not freely alienable see also entail De Donis Conditionalibus in the Important Laws section compare fee simple conditional at fee simple NOTE: The fee tail developed out of the fee simple conditional as a means to ensure that property would remain intact and in the family. Instead of giving the grantee a fee simple absolute once he or she has a child, which the grantee could then alienate (as by selling), the fee tail creates a future interest in the descendants which prevents the grantee and the descendants from alienating the property. A fee tail is created by a conveyance to the grantee and to the heirs of the grantee's body. In most jurisdictions, the fee tail is not recognized.
2 : a fixed amount or percentage charged
: a sum paid or charged for a service [attorney s]
: a fee for the services of a lawyer paid upon successful completion of the services and usually calculated as a percentage of the gain obtained for the client called also contingency contingent fee compare champerty, maintenance
: a fee charged for the filing of a document NOTE: Filing fees are ordinarily charged in civil matters with the filing of the complaint.
: a fee that is assessed in some courts as part of the cost of a civil jury trial
: a fee charged by a lender for the preparation and processing of a loan
: under title that creates a fee
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.