If you love someone, give them a future interest in fee simple in an estate. That being said, Baker v. Wheeton (1972) showed a husband did not love his wife.

Here’s the quick facts of this case. Anna Wheeton had an estate, left by her dead spouse, John Wheeton, which she wanted to sell because she was old; however, what Anna didn’t know was in order to sell the estate, Anna needed kids to qualify as fee simple estate according to John’s will. Henry Baker, one of John Wheeton’s grandchildren, wanted his future interest in contingent remainder.

Here’s the issue of this case. Can the court order a sale of the future interest of contingent remainder in fee simple of the argued land.

Here’s the ruling of this case. The court takes into account a fairness/estoppal issue in deciding if the contingent remainder should be sold for the benefit of all parties.

This case also says something about states and remainders. For one thing, lots of states just have remainders. These states just abolish contingent remainders, etc, because they are uncertain to vest-unlike reversions. Lots of states want nothing to do with contingent remainders, so over the years the courts have developed doctrines that destroy contingent remainders.

Last thing, this case is interesting. To point out, it teaches you about bad spouses like John, 55, who married Anna, 17; that being the case, John only wanted kids. In fact, John didn’t care about Anna in her old age, since he left her no fee simple to sell when she got old. In fact, John probably didn’t want to leave Anna a fee simple because he didn’t want the land going to someone outside his family. You can learn a lot from these old cases.

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