It frequently happens that, where land has been granted to one and the heirs of his body, thus creating an estate tail which the Missouri statute turns into a life estate in the first taker with remainder to those persons who would next have taken the estate tail "according to the course of the common law", it is desired to convey the entire fee during the life of the first tenant. Thus where entailed lands are desired for the erection of some public work, or in the consummation of some other enterprise of general importance, it is necessary that the public or the corporation involved obtain a good fee simple title. Is this possible under our present statutes and decisions? The answer to that question involves a somewhat detailed analysis of the nature of estates tail. And this in turn involves a somewhat extended investigation of their history. For the roots of the law of real property go down deep into the soil of feudalism, and an understanding of the present state of the law is impossible unless regard be had to its evolution.
Ben Ely Jr.,
Can an Estate Tail Be Docked During Life of First Taker?,
45 Bulletin Law Series.
Available at: http://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/ls/vol45/iss1/3