Curative Statutes

by Gary Casaly, Esquire

Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones may very well have been singing about curative statutes when he bellowed out, "Time, time, time … it's on my side, yes it is." Although time doesn't solve all problems, it surely helps when it comes to curative statutes! Their importance cannot be underestimated.

This article will explore many of the curative statutes which will help you in your practice on a day-to-day basis. Some of these statutes, like those having to do with the enforceability of mortgages, use Mick's formula to "cleanse" a title, while others, like the "indefinite reference statute," simply overrule prior court decisions and snatch the title from the bubbling caldron of unmarketability. If properly understood, recognized and applied, curative statutes can save the day—and your title—and keep you out of trouble.

Attachments. An attachment will expire six years after it is recorded, unless it is brought forward under G.L.c. 223, §114A. That statute permits the attachment to be brought forward at the written request of the plaintiff or his attorney. The register must bring the attachment forward within this six-year period. The fact that the request is filed within this period is not sufficient. There may be successive requests to bring the attachment forward, but each request must be made, and the register must actually bring the attachment forward before the expiration of the original or subsequent six-year periods.

Executions. An execution will expire unless a sale, or a levy and suspend, is made within six years of its recordation and the sheriff's deed recorded within three months thereafter. See G.L.c. 236, §49A, Massachusetts Conveyancers Association Title Standard No. 47 and Park, Massachusetts Practice, Real Estate Law, West Publishing Company (Second Ed., 1981), §594.

If a prior attachment was made, an execution must be recorded within a certain period of time after it was issued by the court[1] in order to preserve the priority of the prior attachment. See G.L.c. 223, §59 and G.L.c. 236, §4. These limitations only go to the question of whether the priority of a prior attachment would be preserved. A "late" recorded execution will, nonetheless, be its own lien against the title. (The only case that I am aware of which suggests that a late recorded execution would result in no lien arising is Still Associates, Inc. v. Porter, 24 Mass.App.Ct. 26, 505 N.E.2d 570 (1987). However, the case has been withdrawn from publication, suggesting that the court has questioned its own decision).

With regard to the recording of a sheriff's deed, the controlling statute is G.L.c. 236, §27:

Such [sheriff's] deed shall … be valid as against the debtor and any person claiming under him who has actual knowledge thereof and, if recorded within three months after such sale in the registry of deeds…, shall be valid as against any other party.

Assuming that no intervening interests have arisen, the late recording of the sheriff's deed would be of no import. In Owen v. Neveau, 128 Mass. 427 (1880) the court said that the section was intended for the protection of bona fide purchasers and attaching creditors, and that it was not a prerequisite to the vesting of title in the purchaser at the sheriff's sale that the deed should be recorded within the time specified in the statute.

Sometimes an execution is recorded and six years thereafter pass. A refiling of the execution would be too late under G.L.c. 236, §49A and G.L.c. 223, §114A inasmuch as it was not refiled within the six-year period. If it is thereafter refiled, but outside the six-year period, it will obviously attach to the real estate if, at that time, the title thereto remains in the judgment debtor. But what is the result if in the meantime (i.e., before the refiling) the judgment debtor has departed with title? Technically, one might argue that when the grantee in such a case takes title from the judgment debtor the execution, having lapsed under the statute, would not be revived in the event that it is thereafter refiled and, therefore, its refiling could not affect the title in the hands of the grantee. But this argument fails to consider the status of the grantee or the perspective that the refiling is an original filing. When a second filing occurs the grantee is in the title. But if that grantee is not a purchaser for value, the execution, when refiled, although against the grantor, may affect the title. In this regard, G.L.c. 236, §4 indicates that an execution is not valid against a "purchaser in good faith, for value and without notice" before the execution is recorded. The logical conclusion, of course, is that it is valid, even before it is recorded, with respect to a person who is not a purchaser. The proposed scenario assumes that the grantee is not such a purchaser. If that is the case, the late filing, although not falling within strict provisions of G.L.c. 236, §49A and G.L.c.223, §114A nonetheless causes the execution to be good under the provisions of G.L.c. 236 §4.

The above analysis would apply with respect to the title while in the hands of the grantee and, to the extent of knowledge of the refiling of the execution, against subsequent purchasers. Knowledge would be important in the case of subsequent purchases because the refiling would not be indexed under the name of the initial grantee.

The above analysis indicates a situation where the six-year period may not dispose of the execution if thereafter refiled. But there is another way in which even though six years since the execution was recorded it does not follow that in every instance the lien is thereby extinguished. If the sheriff "levies and suspends" the lien can continue beyond the six-year period. The two statutes that address this matter are G.L.c., §§31, 32.

§31. If land has been seized on execution and further service thereof is suspended by reason of a prior attachment or seizure of the same land, or on the written request of the creditor, the officer making the later seizure shall cause a record thereof to be made in the same manner as an attachment of land on mesne process is recorded. Such record shall be sufficient notice of said seizure, and the levy on such land shall be considered as having been made at the time of such seizure if such record is made within three days thereafter; otherwise, at the time when said record is made. The land shall remain bound by such seizure until set off or sold in whole or in part under the prior attachment or seizure or until that attachment or seizure is dissolved.

The companion section of the statute provides:

§32. If land is set off or sold in part under a prior attachment or seizure, or if that attachment or seizure is dissolved, the land or such part thereof as remains undisposed of shall continue bound for thirty days thereafter by the seizure on execution, and service of the execution may be complete as if the land had been first seized thereon within thirty days, although the return day thereof has passed.

The above statutes are utilized where the land which is subject to the levy is encumbered by a prior attachment or seizure and a sale under the latter-recorded levy would, therefore, not realize a sufficient price.

Ten-Year General Curative Statute. The provisions of G.L.c. 184, §24 cure many defects in title after an instrument has been recorded for a period of ten years. The statute provides as follows:

When any owner of land the title to which is not registered, or of any interest in such land, signs and (sic) instrument of writing conveying or purporting to convey his land or interest, or in any manner affecting or purporting to affect his title thereto, and the instrument, whether or not entitled to record, is recorded, and indexed, in the registry of deeds for the district wherein such land is situated, and a period of ten years elapses after the instrument is accepted for record, and the instrument or the record thereof because of the defect, irregularity or omission fails to comply in any respect with any requirement of law relating to seals, corporate or individual, to the validity of acknowledgment, to certificate of acknowledgment, witnesses, attestation, proof of execution, or time of execution, to recitals of consideration, residence, address, or date, to the authority of a person signing for a corporation who purports to be the president or treasurer or a principal officer of the corporation, such instrument and the record thereof shall notwithstanding any of all of such defects, irregularities and omission, be effective for all purposes to the same extent as though the instrument and the record thereof had originally not been subject to the defect, irregularity or omission, unless within said period of ten years a proceeding is commenced on account of the defect, irregularity or omission, and notice thereof is duly recorded in said registry of deeds and indexed and noted on the margin thereof under the name of the signer of the instrument and, in the event of such proceeding, unless relief is thereby in due course granted.

The important things to note about this statute is that it (i) does not apply to registered land, (ii) requires that the instrument be indexed, (iii) cures the defect retroactively if no proceeding is brought during the ten-year period and (iv) requires the in the event of such a proceeding that notice thereof be recorded, indexed, and margined on the instrument.

The Indefinite Reference Statute. This statute cures many matters which previously plagued titles and rendered them unmarketable. The relevant legislation is G.L.c. 184, §25 and it provides as follows:

No indefinite reference in a recorded instrument shall subject any person not an immediate party thereto to any interest in real estate, legal or equitable, nor put any such person on inquiry with respect to such interest, nor be a cloud on or otherwise adversely affect the title of any such person acquiring the real estate under such recorded instrument if he is not otherwise subject to it or on notice of it. An indefinite reference means (1) a recital indicating directly or by implication that real estate may be subject to restrictions, easement, mortgages, encumbrances or other interests not created by instruments recorded in due course, (2) a recital or indication affecting a description of real estate which by excluding generally real estate previously conveyed or by being in general terms of a person's right, title or interest, or for any other reason, can be construed to refer in a manner limiting the real estate described to any interest not created by instruments recorded in due course, (3) a description of a person as trustee or an indication that a person is acting as trustee, unless the instrument containing the description or indication either sets forth the terms of the trust or specifies a recorded instrument which sets forth its terms and the place in the public records where such instrument is recorded, and (4) any other reference to any interest in real estate, unless the instrument containing the reference either creates the interest referred to or specifies a recorded instrument by which the interest is created and the place in the public records where such interest is recorded. No instrument shall be deemed recorded in due course unless so recorded in the registry of deeds for the county or district in which the real estate affected lies as to be indexed in the grantor index under the name of the owner of record of the real estate affected at the time of the recording. This section shall not apply to a reference to an instrument in a notice or statement permitted by law to be recorded instead of such instrument, nor to a reference to the secured obligation in a mortgage or other instruments appearing of record to be given as security, nor in any proceeding for enforcement of any warranty of title.

The importance of the "indefinite reference statute" is recognized if the effects of the evils it is designed to cure are understood. Prior to the legislation—which, incidentally, was enacted in 1959 but applies to and cures defects arising even before that time—a deed which described real estate in general terms as a person's "right, title or interest" therein would render a title unmarketable because it is not known whether the grantor had sold part of the property by a prior unrecorded deed. In such a case, only that property which remained in the grantor's hands, even though the "deed out" had not been recorded, could pass under the instrument. (The rule was announced in Adams v. Cuddy, 30 Mass. (13 Pick.) 460 (1833) wherein the deed contained this language but no specific description. In Dow v. Whitney, 147 Mass. 1, 16 N.E. 722 (1888) the court held that the rule in Adams should not be extended to deeds that did in fact contain a specific description.)

The indefinite reference statute is most frequently applied in cases where there are conveyances to a person as trustee without a complete reference as to where the trust instrument can be found. Prior to the enactment of the legislation a deed to a person as "trustee" would have rendered the title hopelessly unmarketable. See Cleval v. Sullivan, 258 Mass. 348, 154 N.E. 920 (1927) and the comments in Partridge, Deeds, Mortgages, and Easements, Wright & Potter Printing Co. (Revised Edition, 1932), Part 25.

Mortgages. There are a number of curative statutes regarding mortgages. Two of them relate to ancient mortgages and the others concern the effectiveness of a discharge or alternative documentation with the effect of a discharge.

Under G.L.c. 260, §33 provides as follows:

No power of sale in any mortgage of real estate shall be exercised and no entry shall be made nor possession taken nor proceeding begun for foreclosure of any such mortgage after the expiration of a period which shall be fifty years from the recording of the mortgage in case of mortgages recorded on or after January first, nineteen hundred and thirteen, and which shall be from the recording of the mortgage until January first, nineteen hundred and sixty-three, in case of mortgages recorded before January first, nineteen hundred and thirteen, unless in either case an extension of the mortgage, or an acknowledgment or affidavit that the mortgage is not satisfied, is recorded within the last ten years of such period. In case an extension of the mortgage or such an acknowledgment or affidavit is so recorded, the period shall continue until ten years shall have elapsed during which there is not recorded any further extension of the mortgage or acknowledgment or affidavit that the mortgage is not satisfied. The period shall not be extended by reason of a longer duration of the debt or obligation secured being stated in the mortgage or in any extension of the mortgage, or otherwise, or by non-residence or disability of any person interested in the mortgage or the real estate, or by any partial payment, agreement, extension, acknowledgment, affidavit or other action not meeting the requirements of this section and sections thirty-four and thirty-five.

The above statute effectively dissolves a mortgage unless it is properly brought forward according to the statute. The requirements for bringing the mortgage forward are set forth in subsequent sections to the statute and are quite strict, including the requirement that any affidavit that the mortgage is not satisfied name the then owners of the property and be recorded and indexed under such names and marginally indexed on the mortgage itself.

Another statute, G.L.c. 240, §15, permits a person who holds title subject to a mortgage to bring a petition in the land court to discharge the mortgage. That statute provides as follows:

If the record title of land or of easements or rights in land held and possessed in fee simple is encumbered by an undischarged mortgage or a mortgage not properly or legally discharged of record, and the mortgagor and those having his estate therein have been in uninterrupted possession of the land or exercising the rights in easements or other rights in land, either for any period of twenty years after the expiration of the time limited in the mortgage for the full performance of the condition thereof, or for any period of twenty years after the date of a mortgage not given to secure the payment of money or a debt but to secure the mortgagee against a contingent liability which has so ceased to exist that no person will be prejudiced by the discharge thereof, the mortgagor, or those having his estate in the land, or exercising the rights in easements, or any person named in section eleven, may file a petition in the land court; and if, after such notice of publication or otherwise as the court orders, no evidence is offered of a payment on account of the debt secured by said mortgage within such period of twenty years after the expiration of the time limited for the performance of the condition thereof, or of any other act within said time in recognition of its existence as a valid mortgage, or if the court finds that such contingent liability has ceased to exist and that the mortgage ought to be discharged, it may enter a decree, reciting the facts and findings, which shall, within thirty days after its entry, be recorded in the registry of deeds for the county or district where the land lies, and no action to enforce the title under said mortgage shall thereafter be maintained. Two or more persons owning in severalty different portions or different interests, such as are described in section eleven, in the land subject to the mortgage may join in one petition, and two or more defects arising under different mortgages affecting one parcel of land may be set forth in the same petition. If the petition is contested, the court shall make an appropriate order for separate issues.

The important thing to note about this statute is that it does not permit a petition to be brought to outlaw the mortgage unless twenty years have elapsed "after the expiration of the time limited in the mortgage" for the full performance of the condition thereof. This means that the mortgage itself must contain a date upon which performance is to be made. Many mortgages, although referring to the underlying note, do not contain such a date and would not qualify to be extinguished under this statute.

As to discharges of mortgages, although G.L.c. 183, §54 permits one of multiple joint holders of a mortgage to discharge it, this statute is not applicable to a mortgage held by husband and wife as tenants by the entirety, because neither party is a "joint holder" due to the fact that the mortgage is vested in a fictitious "entity" known as the entirety. See Pineo v. White, 320 Mass. 487, 70 N.E.2d 294 (1946). Moreover, a mortgage (unlike a deed) to persons who are husband and wife, even if the instrument does not recite any tenancy, will vest the parties as joint tenants, which will be converted to tenancy by the entirety. So a discharge from one of these parties (even if it is not known whether they are married) will not effectively release the mortgage. This situation was remedied by the legislature by the passage of G.L.c. 183, §54A, which provides as follows:

After the expiration of a period of ten years from the recording of a discharge or release of a mortgage held by husband and wife as tenants by the entirety and signed by only the husband or the wife, no steps shall be by action, entry or otherwise to foreclose or enforce such mortgage or the note or notes secured thereby, unless within such period the spouse who did not sign such discharge or release has recorded in the registry of deeds for the county or district where the mortgage is recorded a notice identifying the mortgage and the book and page of its recording and stating that rights of a tenant by the entirety may be claimed in the mortgage or the note or notes secured thereby. A reference to such notice shall be noted on the margin of the record of the mortgage.

New legislation, amending G.L.c. 183, §55 and adding G.L.c. 183, §54C was recently enacted, expanding the ways in which mortgages can be discharged by affidavits or the recording of certain servicing documentation. The legislation is fully discussed in a bulletin written by me dated February 15, 1997, and entitled "The New Discharge Law in a Nutshell."

Restrictions. There are a number of statutes that address and cleanse titles of restrictions, or at least their effect. The basic statutes are contained in G.L.c. 183, §§23, 23A, 27 and 28.

§23. Conditions or restrictions, unlimited as to time, by which the title or use of real property is affected, shall be limited to the term of thirty years after the date of the deed or other instrument or the date of the probate of the will creating them, except in cases of gifts or devises for public, charitable or religious purposes. This section shall not apply to conditions or restrictions existing on July sixteenth, eighteen hundred and eighty-seven, to those contained in a deed, grant or gift of the commonwealth, or to those having the benefit of section thirty-two.

The foregoing statute applies to restrictions which are unlimited as to time. Except as to restrictions imposed before July 16, 1887, those contained in a deed from the commonwealth or those having to do with public, charitable or religious purposes or running to the benefit of conservation commissions (all of which are covered by other statutes), restrictions which are unlimited as to time have a thirty-year statute of limitations.

§23A. No action, suit, or proceeding shall be maintained either at law or in equity in any court to recover damages or to compel the removal, alteration, or relocation of any structure by reason of any violation of any private restriction or condition in the nature of a restriction by which the use of real property is affected in regard to: (a) building set-back requirements from front, side, or rear property lines, (b) the size, type, number of dwelling units, or number of stories of any structure, (c) the addition of any porch, garage, sign, bay window or similar addition, or the location or construction of any driveway, fence or wall, or (d) the materials used or the expenditure made for construction, unless such action, suit, or proceeding is commenced within six years next after the completion of such building, addition, or other construction.

The above statute is similar to a companion statute (G.L.c. 40A, §7) which has to do with zoning. However, under §23A it is private restrictions which are rendered unenforceable, but only as to the particular offending structure. (Under the other statutes discussed in this section, the restrictions are rendered unenforceable in all respects due to the expiration of the statutory period. However, under §23A the restrictions themselves are not emasculated, but rather their enforcement as to a particular existing structure is prohibited. If the other statutory periods have not run, the erection of a new structure which violates the restriction could be challenged (at least until the expiration of another six-year period). In measuring the six-year period, the statute provides that the record of assessment of any house or other structure for taxation shall be prima facie evidence of the completion of such house or structure by the first day of January of the year of assessment.

§27. No restriction imposed after December thirty-first, nineteen hundred and sixty-one shall be enforceable:—

(a) unless the person seeking enforcement (1) is a party to the instrument imposing the restriction and it is stated to be for his benefit or is entitled to such benefit as a successor to such party, or (2) is an owner of an interest in benefited land which either adjoins the subject parcel at the time enforcement is sought or is described in the instrument imposing the restriction and is stated therein to be benefited, and

(b) after thirty years from the imposition of the restriction, unless (1) the restriction is imposed as part of a common scheme applicable to four or more parcels contiguous except for any intervening streets or ways, and provision is made in the instrument or instruments imposing it for extension for further periods of not more than twenty years at a time by owners of record, at the time of recording of the extension, of fifty per cent or more of the restricted area in which the subject parcel is located, and an extension in accordance with such provision is recorded before the expiration of the thirty years or earlier date of termination specified in the instrument and names or is signed by one or more of the persons appearing of record to own the subject parcel at the time of such recording, and in case such recording, twenty years, or the specified extension term if less that twenty years, has not expired after the recording of any such extension without the recording of a further like extension; or (2) in the case of any other restrictions, a notice of restriction is recorded before the expiration of the thirty years, and in case of such recording, twenty years have not expired after the recording of any notice of restriction without the recording of a further notice of restriction.

A notice of restriction under this section shall not extend the period of enforceability unless it (a) is signed by the person then entitled of record to the benefit of the restriction and describes the benefited land, if any, (b) describes the subject parcel, (c) names one or more of the persons appearing of record to own the subject parcel at the time, and (d) specifies the instrument imposing the restriction and its place of record in the public records.

The basic effect of this statute to render unenforceable after thirty years all restrictions imposed during or after 1962. Section 23 also refers to a thirty-year period, but the statute applies only to restrictions unlimited as to time. Section 27 applies to restrictions which state, for example, that they are effective for 100 years. If imposed during or after 1962, those restrictions, although not unlimited as to time, would expire in thirty years (unless brought forward according to the strict requirements of G.L.c. 184 §29).

§28. No restriction imposed before January first, nineteen hundred and sixty-two shall be enforceable after the expiration of fifty years from its imposition unless a notice of restriction is recorded before the expiration of such fifty years or before January first, nineteen hundred and sixty-four, whichever is later, and in case of such recording, twenty years have not expired after the recording of any notice of restriction without the recording of a further notice of restriction.

A notice of restriction under this section shall not extend the period of enforceability unless (a) it meets the requirements specified by the last paragraph of section twenty-seven, or (b) the restriction was imposed as part of a common scheme applicable to four or more parcels contiguous except for any intervening streets or ways and the notice (1) is signed by a person then entitled of record to the benefit of the restriction and describes his benefited land, if any, (2) describes the subject parcels to be affected, and (3) specifies the way or ways, public or open to public use, upon which each such parcel abuts, or nearest to which it is located and its street number, if any, and (4) specifies the instrument imposing the restriction and its place of record in the public records. The holder of record of a recorded mortgage upon any land may sign a notice under this section in place of the owner thereof if the notice specifies the mortgage and its place of record in the public records and names of one or more of the persons appearing of record to own the land at the time.

This statute renders unenforceable after fifty years all restrictions imposed before 1962 unless they fall into one or more exceptions set forth in the section. This statute is sometimes misunderstood. Many conveyancers believe that under the statute restrictions imposed before 1962 have a fifty-year enforcement period. This is correct, if the restrictions contain an enforcement period of fifty (or more) years. If no such period is specified in the restrictions, they would thereby be unlimited as to time, and would be governed by G.L.c. 184 §23 (thirty-year enforcement period).

Reverters. Another type of interest that plagues ttiles are reveters, but there are curative statutes that limit the "hold" these interests have on title. Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 260, Section 31 A bars the enforcement of rights of entry and possibilities of reverter created prior to January 2, 1955,[2] unless prior to January 1, 1964:

 (i) the condition has been broken or the reverter has occurred and the holder of such interest before said date took possession pursuant thereto and, in the case of an entry made after January 1, 1957, recorded a notice in the registry of deeds, indexed in the name of the current owner, describing the affected land and the nature of the right claimed, and specifying the instrument creating it and the place of the record thereof, or

 (ii) the person who has the right of entry or would have it if the condition were broken records a similar statement 

Note that the statute as originally enacted does not disturb or cut short reverters where the condition has been broken or the reverter occurred and possession has been taken, and in this regard the statute does not require the documentation of the “trigger” of such reverters or entries (except as to those made after January 1, 1957) so there is a “loophole” in the statute as enacted that can leave uncertainty as to the status of the title. This “loophole” was “plugged” by Chapter 305 of the Acts of 1956 with an amendment to G.L.c. 184, Section 19 requiring the recording of a certificate before January 1, 1966, resulting in the loophole closing ten years after the enactment of the amendatory statute.

The statute is constitutional, and applies even to reverters which have already taken place.  Brookline v. Carey, 355 Mass. 424, 245 N.E.2d 446 (1969).

Taxes. Taxes, along with death, are unavoidable. But the lien which secures the payment of taxes and which encumbers the title to real estate, may be dissolved with the passage of time.

(a). Real Estate Taxes. Until paid, real estate taxes remain a lien against property. There are, however, two notable exceptions to this rule. First, under G.L.c. 60 §37 the lien for real estate taxes "terminate(s) at the expiration of three years from October first in [the year of assessment], if in the meantime the estate has been alienated and the instrument alienating the same has been recorded." The lien will not terminate, however, even if there is alienation, if a tax title has been recorded before either the alienation or the expiration of the three-year period. If no such tax taking is timely recorded, the lien for the taxes is dissolved.

Second, G.L.c. 60, §23 makes provisions for the issuance of a certificate of municipal liens, which, if recorded within one hundred fifty days of its date, "shall operate to discharge the parcel of real estate specified from the liens of all taxes, assessments, or portions thereof, rates and charges which do no appear by said certificate to constitute liens thereon." Again, if a tax taking has been recorded, the certificate will not operate to dissolve the lien for taxes. Also, although the lien may be dissolved once the certificate is recorded, the personal obligation to pay the tax is not discharged.

(b). Death Tax Liens. Liens for death taxes—both state and federal—are dissolved ten years after the death of the decedent. The rule has always applied to estate taxes and was made applicable to Massachusetts inheritance taxes by Chapter 205 of the Acts of 1989.

(c). Income and Other Tax Liens. A lien for Massachusetts taxes (other than death taxes) expires in six years after it is assessed. Liens for employment security taxes, however, are limited to a ten (formerly six) year duration. (Section 16 of the statute makes provision for a lien of twenty years' duration when the lien "results from a judgment," but it does not appear that the judgment itself needs to be recorded. Section 15 of the statute requires an action for such judgment to be commenced "in the district court within the judicial district of which the employer … lives or has or had a usual place of business …." The docket of those courts should be examined.)

Federal tax liens now expire ten years (plus a period of thirty days) after they are assessed. (Section 11317 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 amended §6502 of the Internal Revenue Code by extending the lien period of federal tax liens from six years to ten years with respect to those liens which were assessed before November 5, 1990, and had not expired by October 1, 1990, and permitting the refiling thereof to be made as late as thirty days after the expiration of said period.)


1 Prior law measured the recording requirements from the rendering of the judgment. [Back to Text]

2 As to such interests created after this date, they are governed by the Statutory Rule Against Perpetuities.  See G.L.c. 184A, §§7, 9.  “A fee simple determinable in land subject to a right of entry for condition broken shall become a fee simple absolute if the specified contingency does not occur within thirty years from the date when such fee simple determinable or such fee simple subject to a right of entry becomes possessory.” [Back to Text]