Estate by the Curtesy Law and Legal Definition
Estate by the curtesy is an estate in property acquired by the widower on account of his marriage to his deceased spouse. At common law, an estate by curtesy may exist in an estate of inheritance, and in no other estate. [Longest v. Langford, 114 Okla. 50, 53 (Okla. 1925)].
An estate by the curtesy at common law depends upon four essentials:
a. that the wife be seized of an estate of inheritance to which issue of the marriage may possibly succeed as heir of the wife;
b. that the estate be or become, during coverture, an interest in possession;
c. that seisin in deed (less properly styled actual seisin) be obtained during coverture; and
d. that issue be born alive.
The transpiring of these four events constitute the contingency upon which an estate by the curtesy arises, that is, vests, in the husband in possession upon his wife's death. [Hackensack Trust Co. v. Tracy, 86 N.J. Eq. 301 (Ch. 1916)].