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A Civil Law term referring to the right of one individual to use and enjoy the property of another, provided its substance is neither impaired nor altered.
For example, a usufructuary right would be the right to use water from a stream in order to generate electrical power. Such a right is distinguishable from a claim of legal ownership of the water itself.
usufructthe right of enjoying the fruits of property of another person, e.g. the wife of a deceased person living in an estate house until her death.
USUFRUCT, civil law. The right of enjoying a thing, the property of which is
vested in another, and to draw from the same all the profit, utility and
advantage which it may produce, provided it be without altering the
substance of the thing.
2. The obligation of not altering the substance of the thing, however, takes place only in the case of a complete usufruct.
3. Usufructs are of two kinds; perfect and imperfect. Perfect usufruct, which is of things which the usufructuary can enjoy without altering their substance, though their substance may be diminished or deteriorated naturally by time or by the use to which they are applied; as a house, a piece of land, animals, furniture and other movable effects. Imperfect or quasi usufruct, which is of things which would be useless to the usufructuary if be did not consume and expend them, or change the substance of them, as money, grain, liquors. Civ. Code of Louis. art. 525, et seq.; 1 Browne's Civ. Law, 184; Poth. Tr. du Douaire, n. 194; Ayl. Pand. 319; Poth. Pand. tom. 6, p. 91; Lecons El. du Dr. Civ. Rom. 414 Inst. lib. 2, t. 4; Dig. lib. 7, t. 1, 1. 1 Code, lib. 3, t. 33; 1 Bouv. Inst. Theolo. pg. 1, c. 1, art. 2, p. 76.