Curtesy Definition

The life interest which a husband acquires in the lands of his wife upon her death, provided they have children capable of inheriting: curtesy has been altered or abolished by statute in many U.S. states and in England.
Webster's New World

Under the common law, a husband’s entitlement to a life estate in all the land that his wife possessed at her death in either fee simple or fee tail, provided the couple had a living child who was capable of inheriting his or her mother’s estate. This right has been abolished in most states. See also dower.

Webster's New World Law

Origin of Curtesy

  • Middle English courtesie courtesy

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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