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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Fee Simple Estate

Term Definition Fee Simple Estate - absolute ownership unencumbered by an other interest or estate.
Application in Divorce A fee simple estate is a place where "a man’s home is his castle," and the antecedents of this form of ownership are in English common law.

A fee simple estate is subject only to the limitations of eminent domain, escheat, police power, and taxation. Such estates are unlimited with respect to duration, disposition and descendibility.

A fee simple estate is the way most married couples own a marital home. The spouses own it by the entirety, which means both husband and wife simultaneously have a 100 percent interest in the estate. If one of them dies, the estate passes directly to the other because of the joint tenancy.

When a couple have paid the mortgage on a fee simple estate, they can say they own the homestead "free and clear."

See also Joint Tenancy.

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