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Cutting off an Entailment

In Part I of Mr. Bennet and the Entailment, I mentioned that Mr. Bennet’s plan to provide for his family after his death was to have a son who would join with Mr. Bennet in cutting off the entail. This process can also be known as “breaking off” or “barring” an entail and, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, 7th edition, this was done by a deed (written instrument used to convey land) that was joined by both the property’s current owner (Mr. Bennet) and the heir next in line to inherit (Mr. Bennet’s son).

Part of the reason that this is possible, is because an entail cannot last forever, there are limits and presumably it is expected that the Longbourn entail is going to run out during Mr. Bennet’s successor’s lifetime, meaning that Mr. Collins, the current heir will most likely be able to follow the example of his beloved patroness’s family and pass along Longbourn estate free of any entail that would prevent his female descendants from inheriting.

What the limits to an entailment are and how they came to be is a post for another time.

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