fee tail

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A common law interest in land, now abolished in most states.  The owner of land in fee tail is required to pass that land on to their children, who then may be required to pass it to their children.  A fee tail is generally created when a deed uses the words "the heirs of his body," as in "to  John Doe and the heirs of his body."  In most jurisdictions in the United States, the fee tail has been abolished, and this language in a deed instead creates a fee simple