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An estate tail is an estate of inheritance, to a man or a woman and his or her heirs of his or her body, or heirs of his body of a particular description, or to several persons and the heirs of their bodies, or the heirs generally or specially of the body or bodies of one person, or several bodies.
Estates tail, as qualified "in their limitation and extent, are of several sorts. They have different denominations, according to the circumstances under which, or the persons to whom they are limited. They are usually divided into estates tail general or special.
But they may be more advantageously arranged under the following classes.As to the extent of the degree to which the estates may descend, they are, 1st, general; 2d, qualified.
As to the sex of the person who may succeed, they are, 1st. General, as extending to males or females of the body, without exception. 2d. Special, as admitting only one sex to the succession, and excluding the other sex.
As to the person by whom or by whose body those heirs are to be begotten, they are either, 1st. General, as to all the heirs of the body of a man or woman. 2d. Special, as to the heirs of the body of a man or woman begotten by a particular person, or to the heirs of the two bodies of a man and woman. On the several species of estates tail noticed under this division, it may be observed, that the samer estate may at the same time, be general in one respect; as, for example, to all the heirs of the body in whatever degree they are related; and may be, special in another respect, as that these heirs shall be males, etc.
Obs. tax imposed on the revenues of non-nobility.