BASE FEE, in law, a freehold estate of inheritance which is limited or qualified by the existence of certain conditions. In modern property law the commonest example of a base fee is an estate created by a tenant in tail, not in possession, who bars the entail without the consent of the protector of the settlement. Though he bars his own issue, he cannot bar any remainder or reversion, and the estate (i.e. the base fee) thus created is determinable on the failure of his issue in tail. An example of this kind of estate was introduced by George Eliot into the plot of Felix Holt. Another example of a base fee is an estate descendible to heirs general, but terminable on an uncertain event; for example, a grant of land to A and his heirs, tenants of the manor of Dale. The estate terminates whenever the prescribed qualification ceases. An early meaning of base fee was an estate held not by free or military service, but by base service, i.e. at the will of the lord.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)