1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Conditional Fee

CONDITIONAL FEE, at English common law, a fee or estate restrained in its form of donation to some particular heirs, as, to the heirs of a man’s body, or to the heirs male of his body. It was called a conditional fee by reason of the condition expressed or implied in the donation of it, that if the donee died without such particular heirs, the land should revert to the donor. In other words, it was a fee simple on condition that the donee had issue, and as soon as such issue was born, the estate was supposed to become absolute by the performance of the condition. A conditional fee was converted by the statute De Donis Conditionalibus into an estate tail (see Real Property).