You have probably seen popular character names used in legal fact patterns. Most of them are there for pure entertainment. But fictional characters can do work for your memory as well. Here’s how – with the story of the Crow.
One day, the Fox was sleuthing around the Foxacre when he saw the Raven perched in a tree with a piece of cheese in his beak. The Fox was hungry and came up with a plan to get the cheese from the Raven. The Fox deeded the Foxacre “to the Raven so long as the Raven does not sing in his ugly voice on the Foxacre.” The Raven, anxious to refute the criticism of his voice, set up a loud caw and dropped the cheese. Determine the types of interest conveyed and retained in the transaction. Who owns the Foxacre now?
The Fox conveyed a fee simple determinable to the Raven and retained a possibility of reverter. When the Raven began to caw, the limitation stated in the conveyance occurred and the estate automatically reverted back to the Fox.
The following phrase will help you remember the estate and the corresponding future interest:
Fox Simply Deceived Poor Raven.
Fee Simple Determinable and Possibility of Reverter.
If you are familiar with the Aesop fable “The Fox and the Crow,” this hypothetical can do a few things for you:
The familiar scenario when the Crow (Raven in my hypo because the letter “R” stands for “Reverter”) caws and drops the cheese, which the Fox immediately gets, reinforces the idea that the fee simple determinable is automatically terminated once the stated condition is broken. The sneaky Fox gets both the cheese and the estate in my hypo.
An additional benefit is the phrase that helps you to memorize the estate and the future interest.
Can you think of any scenarios from books or movies that inspire you to create your own memorable hypothetical for a flashcard?
**Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while (thank you, thank you!) know that I have done a number of such memory aids throughout my posts. If you find them helpful, please let me know because I may be able to work on more of those to have a study aid product. I’d greatly appreciate your feedback, so leave a comment or send me an email.