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Sybert v. Sybert

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

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Property Law Keyed to Cribbet

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 250 S.W.2d 271 (Tex. Civ. App. 1952)

Brief Fact Summary. Fred Sybert, by wills from his father and mother, received a conveyance of property which was described by the testator to be a life estate only with the gift over of the remainder in fee to “heirs of his body.”

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The rule in Shelley’s case applies to create a fee simple interest in Fred Sybert, even though the intent of the testator was to create a life estate, because the gift over is to the “heirs of his body.”

Facts. J.H. Sybert, deceased in 1942, devised by will leaving all his property to his wife, and at her death to his son Fred Sybert certain described land with the following provisions: “To my son Fred Sybert I will and bequeath the following described tract of land (a life estate only, to manage, control and use for and during the term of his natural life and after the death of my said son, Fred Sybert, to vest in fee simple in the heirs of his body).” J.H. Sybert’s wife died with the same provisions in her will. Fred Sybert died childless and without a will in 1950 and was survived by the Respondent, his wife Eunice Sybert. Two of Fred Sybert’s brothers are the Petitioners, who sought to have the provisions of the devise to Fred Sybert from J.H. Sybert construed as granting a life estate to Fred Sybert and in the case of the failure of issue that the estate was to revert to the heirs of J.H. Sybert (the brothers). The Respondent, Fred Sybert’s widow Eunice, wished to have the rule
in Shelley’s case applied to the devise from J.H. Sybert to Fred Sybert so that the estate would be found to be an estate in fee simple, and the land would pass to the surviving spouse under the statutes of descent and distribution. The Respondent prevailed in the trial court and the intermediate appellate court.

Issue. Does the rule in Shelley’s case apply here such that the estate Fred Sybert received under the devise from J.H. Sybert is a fee simple rather than a life estate?

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