B has a life estate and a reversion in fee simple; A has a contingent remainder in fee simple. B’s interests merge into a fee simple, destroying A’s contingent remainder. Modern View Most jurisdictions today have abolished the destructibility rule. Remainders which are still contingent are not destroyed at the expiration of the prior life estate. Instead, the original grantor is allowed to retake possession (i., reversion) subject to the remainder. Thus, the grantor can take the property back until B has children, at which time the remainder vests and becomes possessory and the grantor’s reversion ends. If B dies without having children, the remainder is extinguished due to impossibility of vesting. The merger doctrine has also been abolished in most states. Open A remainder that is granted to a group of persons.
Example: “To A for life, then to the children of B” may be completely contingent, (e., B has no children yet), or it may be vested subject to open (e., some members of the class of grantees are living, but the class is still open to further additions if B has more children). The significance of “open” is that the living class members hold a vested remainder that is subject to partial divestment if members are added to the class. Class Closing Rule Existing members can move to close their class when their interest becomes presently possessory.
Example: “To A for life, then to B’s children.” B has two children. B later has another child, then A dies. At A’s death, his life estate is terminated and the vested remainder of B’s children becomes possessory.