Distinction between Usufruct and Fideicommissum
When a testator gives a beneficial interest in property to successive persons, it is a question of construction whether he or she intends to make the first taker owner subject to a fideicommissum in favour of the second or the second taker owner subject to a usufruct in favour of the first. The following is a basic distinction between the two concepts:
A Usufruct enables the holder (usufructuary) to use certain property belonging to someone else and to enjoy the fruits subject to the condition that the substance of the property be maintained. It may be granted for life or for a specified time or until the happening of a specific event but where granted for a specified time or until the happening of a specific event it will terminate if the usufructuary dies before such time or before such event has happened.
A Fideicommissum is whereby a benefit, usually fixed property, is bequeathed to one person (fiduciary) subject to the condition that on the occurrence of a specified event or the fulfillment of a specified condition, usually the death of the fiduciary, that the inheritance or part thereof is to pass on to another person.
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