Fee Tail Law and Legal Definition
Fee tail means an estate of inheritance in real property which cannot be sold, devised by will, or otherwise alienated by the owner. This property can only be passed by operation of law to the owner's heirs upon his/her death. The rule of fee tail has been abolished in all but four states in the United States: Massachusetts, Maine, Delaware and Rhode Island. However, in the first three states, it can be sold or deeded as any other property. In these states, fee tail only affects transfer of property through will. For example, in Rhode Island, a fee tail is treated as a life estate with remainder in the life tenant's heirs. However, the heirs should be legitimate.