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Law School Case Brief

Lindsay v. Wigal - 145 Ind. App. 338, 250 N.E.2d 755 (1969)

Rule:

The words "as long as" in a deed create a determinable fee that reverts ipso facto on the happening of the stated event.

Facts:

The heirs of the husband and wife who have conveyed a real estate to the church filed an action to quiet title against the putative property buyers. The warranty deed to trustees of a church specified that it was a deed of gift and was valid and good "as long as" the real estate was or could be occupied for church purposes. After so many years, the church entered into a contract with the buyers to convey the real estate by warranty deed to the buyers. The court ruled in favor of the heirs and the buyers sought review.

Issue:

Does the word “as long as” in the warranty deed create a possibility of reverter in favor of the heirs of the grantors?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court affirmed the ruling of the trial court. The court found that the language in the deed, "as long as," provided sufficient evidence for a ruling on the question of law. The words "as long as" created a determinable fee with possibility of reverter. There was ample evidence in the record that the church had abandoned the property and, at that time, the title reverted automatically to the heirs of the grantors.

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