2 Chapter 1: The Concept of Property Related to Wills, Trusts, and Estate Administration
© 2017 Cengage Learning®. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible website, in whole or in part.
3. State courts apply three tests—annexation, adaptation, and intention—to determine if
personal property has been converted into a fixture.
a. Annexation means that the personal property has been affixed or annexed to the real
b. Adaptation means that the personal property has been adapted to the use or purpose of
the real estate.
(1) Is the property necessary to the function or enjoyment of the real estate?
(2) Is the property beneficial to the function or enjoyment of the real estate?
c. Intention refers to the intention of the person who annexed the personal property to the
real property. In most states, this has been the controlling test that determines the
existence of a fixture.
d. There is substantial variation among courts throughout the country on what constitutes
(1) Generally, examples of fixtures are doors, fences, windows, stoves, wall-to-wall
carpeting, refrigerators, and electric lights.
(2) Compare: Mortgage Bond Co. v. Stephens, 181 Okl. 419, 74 P.2d 361 (1937), in
which a refrigerator was a fixture, and Elliott v. Tallmadge, 207 Or. 428, 297 P.2d
310 (1956), in which a refrigerator was held to be personal property.
—TEACHING SUGGESTION: If students can perform legal research, ask them each to
locate one case in your state jurisdiction where the court either determined personal
property to be a fixture or determined it not to be a fixture. Ask the students to identify
which test applies in your jurisdiction and to explain the court’s reasoning and holding.
If students cannot perform legal research, provide copies of various cases from your
jurisdiction for this exercise.
As a classroom exercise, students can present their findings to expand their appreciation of
what is considered a fixture and why.
4. Tenants who install fixtures on property they rent may remove that property if it falls under
one of three exceptions known as tenant’s fixtures.
a. Trade fixtures are property placed on the land or in a building to help the tenant carry
on a trade or business.
b. Agricultural fixtures are property annexed by the tenant for farming purposes.
c. Domestic fixtures are property attached by the tenant to make an apartment more
comfortable or convenient.
D. When real property is transferred by gift or sale, the title or ownership is conveyed to the donee
or buyer by a formal written document called a deed.
1. Transfer is an act by which the title to property is conveyed from one party to another,
whether the party is a person, corporation, or the government.
2. Conveyance is any transfer by deed or will of legal or equitable title to real property from
one person to another.
3. Disposition is the parting with, transfer, or conveyance of property.
4. Grant is a transfer of title to real or personal property by deed or other instrument.
5. Grantor is the person who conveys or transfers real or personal property to another.
6. Grantee is the person to whom real or personal property is transferred or conveyed.
7. Deed is a written, signed, and delivered legal document that transfers title or ownership of
real property such as land or buildings.
8. Title is the right to and evidence of ownership of real or personal property.
9. Legal title is a title that is complete, perfect, and enforceable in a court of law, granting the
holder the right of ownership and possession of property.
10. Equitable title is title held by a party that gives the party the right to have the legal title
transferred to him/her. For example, a person who purchases a house through a mortgage