Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Incorporeal Hereditament Definition:

An intangible right which is attached to property and which is inheritable.

Related Terms: Incorporeal

An incorporeal right which is attached to property and which is inheritable.

Easements and profits a prendre are examples of incorporeal hereditaments, as are hereditary titles such as those common in the United Kingdom.

In The Law of Real Property, author Robert Megarry (London: Stevens & Sons, 1975, p. 12), uses the following words, judicially noted with approval in Nanaimo v Esquimalt Railway 5 WWR 362 (Canada, 1975):

"Real property itself comprises two distinct genera, called corporeal and incorporeal hereditaments.

"'Hereditament' indicates property which descended to the heir on intestacy ... i.e., realty as opposed to personalty.

"Corporeal hereditaments are lands, buildings, minerals, trees and all other things which are part of or affixed to land; in other words, the physical matter over which ownership is exercised.

"Incorporeal hereditaments, on the other hand, are not things at all, but rights. Certain rights were classified as real property, so that on intestacy (before 1926) they also descended to the heir, rather than to the relatives entitled to personalty. The most important incorporeal hereditaments are easements, profits and rentcharges, but there are others also."

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