TERM FOR YEARS. An estate for years, (q.v.) and the time during which such
estate is to be held, are each called a term; hence the term may expire
before the time, as by a surrender. Co. Litt. 45. If, for example, a
conveyance be made to Peter for three years, and after the expiration of the
said term to Paul for six, and Peter surrenders or forfeits his term after
one year, Paul's estate takes effect immediately; if, on the contrary, the
language had been after the expiration of the said time, or of the said
three years, the result would have been different, and Paul's estate would
not have taken effect till the end of such time, notwithstanding the
forfeiture or surrender.
2. Whatever be its duration, a term for years is less than an estate for life. If, therefore, the same person have a term for years and an estate for life immediately succeeding it, the term is merged; but if the order of the estates be reversed, that is, if the greater precede the less, there is no merger. Co. Litt. 54 b; Vin. Ab. Merger, F 4 and G 13; Godb. 51; Biss. on Est. c. 8, s. 1, n. 3, p. 186. Vide Estate for years; Leases.