The purchase of the rights of a person to a piece of land when the seller is deceased.
When a deed is made by one who, though having a legal right to land, is at the time of the conveyance disseised, as a general rule of the common law, the sale is void; the law will not permit any person to sell a quarrel or, as it is commonly termed, a pretended title. Such a conveyance is an offence at common law and by a statute of Hen. VIII.
This rule has been generally adopted in the United States and is affirmed by express statute. In some of the states it has been modified or abolished. It was recognized in Massachusetts and Indiana. In Massacbusetts, there was no statute on the subject, but the act has always been unlawful. In Connecticut the seller and the buyer each forfeited half the value of the land. In New York, a person deceased could not convey except by way of mortgage, but the statute does not apply to judicial sales. In North Carolina and South Carolina, a conveyance by a disseisee was illegal; the seller forfeits the land and the buyer its value.
In Kentucky such sale was void. But when the deeds were made since the passage of the statute of 1798, the grantee might, under that act, sue for land conveyed to him which was adversely possessed by another, as the grantor might have done before. The statute rendered transfers valid to pass the title. The statute of 1824, 'to revive and amend the champerty and maintenance law,' forbids the buying ot titles where there is an adverse possession. In Ohio, the purchase of land from one against whom a suit is pending for it is void, except against himself if he prevails. In Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri, a deed is valid, though there be an adverse possession.
The Roman law forbade the sale of a right or thing in litigation.