Determinable Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Determinable, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Determinable?

adj. Defining something that a particular event can terminate. The term is primarily used to describe a real property interest, such as a fee simple determinable where property id deeded to another.

History and Meaning of Determinable

The term "determinable" has its roots in feudal land law, where landowners granted land to others in return for various forms of service or compensation. In modern legal usage, "determinable" refers to a type of real property interest that can be terminated automatically if a specified event occurs. This type of interest is also referred to as a "conditional" interest.

Examples of Determinable

  1. A private school sets up an endowment fund with the stipulation that the funds can only be used for scholarships for female students. If the school goes bankrupt or closes, the remainder of the funds will revert to the original donor.
  2. A landowner grants a conservation easement to a nonprofit organization, which allows the organization to use the land in perpetuity for conservation purposes. If the land is ever used for non-conservation purposes, the easement can be terminated.
  3. An oil company leases mineral rights from a landowner for a period of ten years, with the lease automatically terminating if no oil is discovered within that time frame.

Legal Terms Similar to Determinable

  1. Fee simple subject to condition subsequent - a type of property interest that can be terminated if a specified condition is breached.
  2. Reversionary interest - a property interest that returns to the grantor or a third party upon the occurrence of a specified event.
  3. Defeasible estate - a type of property interest that can be terminated if a specified condition is met or not met.