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Limited, abridged, reduced, or curtailed.

An estate in tail is a legally recognizable interest of inheritance that goes to the heirs of the donee's body instead of descending to the donee's heirs generally. The heirs of the donee's body are his or her lawful issue (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on, in a direct line for as long as the descendants endure in a regular order and course of descent). Upon the death of the first owner to die without issue, the estate tail ends.



See: end, termination


the limitation of an estate or interest to a person and the heirs of his body, or an estate or interest limited in this way.

TAIL. An estate tail is an estate of inheritance, to a man or a woman and his or her heirs of his or her body, or heirs of his body of a particular description, or to several persons and the heirs of their bodies, or the heirs generally or specially of the body or bodies of one person, or several bodies. Prest. on Estates, 355; Cruise, tit. 2, c. 1, s. 12.
     2. Estates tail, as qualified "in their limitation and extent, are of several sorts. They have different denominations, according to the circumstances under which, or the persons to whom they are limited. They are usually divided into estates tail general or special.
     3. But they may be more advantageously arranged under the following classes.
     4.-1. As to the extent of the degree to which the estates may descend, they are, 1st, general; 2d, qualified.
     5.-2. As to the sex of the person who may succeed, they are, 1st. General, as extending to males or females of the body, without exception. 2d. Special, as admitting only one sex to the succession, and excluding the other sex.
     6.-3. As to the person by whom or by whose body those heirs are to be begotten, they are either, 1st. General, as to all the heirs of the body of a man or woman. 2d. Special, as to the heirs of the body of a man or woman begotten by a particular person, or to the heirs of the two bodies of a man and woman. On the several species of estates tail noticed under this division, it may be observed, that the same estate may at the same time, be general in one respect; as, for example, to all the heirs of the body in whatever degree they are related; and may be, special in another respect, as that these heirs shall be males, &c. Prest. on Estates, 383, 4.
     7. The law relating to entails is diversified in the several states. In Indiana and Louisiana they never existed they are unknown in Illinois and Vermont. In Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and New York, estates tail are converted into estates in fee simple by statute; and they may be barred by a simple conveyance in Pennsylvania. In Alabama, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, Connecticut and North Carolina, they have been modified, and in Georgia, they have been abolished without reservation. Griff. Reg. h.t. Vide, generally, 8 Vin. Ab. 227 to 272; 10 Id. 257 to 269; 20 Id. 163; Bac. Ab. Estate in tail; 4 Com. Dig. 17; 4 Kent, Com. 12; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.; and. 1 Bro. Civ. Law, 188, where an attempt is made to prove that an estate resembling an estate tail was not unknown to the Romans.