University of Missouri Bulletin Law Series

Document Type



The common law gave to vested remainders many of the qualities of present estates, and most of the questions arising in connection with their transfer have long been free from difficulty. But contingent remainders occupied such a precarious place in the law long after they were first recognized as legal interests, that all questions as to their transferability were approached with exceeding reluctance. The contingent remainderman had only a mere possibility of an estate, and the employment of such a description was in itself sufficient to conjure difficulty, for possibility to the common law lawyer was a dangerous word. A dealing in possibilities smacked of maintenance and its consequent taint. It is not surprising, therefore, that when all conveyances of interests in land were formal and restricted and when uncertain. Future interests were not favored, artificial rules for the alienation of contingent remainders took root; and although conveyances have been freed from most of the feudal restrictions and uncertain interests have come into greater favor, the force of the artificial rules has not entirely spent itself. A special treatment of the transfer of remainders seems to be justified, therefore, with especial reference to a few recent Missouri decisions.



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