Emblements

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Emblements are the annual crops (e.g. corn, wheat, rye, potatoes, garden vegetables) produced by labor as opposed to crops that occur naturally. Crops that are not considered emblements include trees, grass, and naturally growing fruit. Emblements are considered personal property and the tenant who cultivated the land is entitled to the harvest. 

Under the doctrine of emblements, if the tenant dies before the harvest, the right to harvest the crops will pass to his or her heirs even if the heirs have not been physically occupying the land. The reasoning behind the doctrine is to compensate the tenant for his or her labor. However, if the tenancy terminates due to some wrongful act of the tenant or default of the tenant, the doctrine of emblements does not apply. 

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]