Land law and real estate in these United States has its roots in feudalism. Remnants of that feudalism are still with us today. Feudalism has its roots in Roman history, but that is another subject for another day. 49 of the 50 States of the Union had adopted English Common Law as its law (Louisiana adopted Roman Civil Law). Law today is more Roman Civil Law than Common Law, but that is another story for another day . In England, all land belonged to the King by radical title. This is after the invasion of William the Conqueror in 1069. Prior to this, people held their land in allod. The King held allodial title to land from this moment forward. Some of the subjects were given land in exchange for services owed to the King such as fighting in the King's army when called as well as other duties. Subjects tenured (held) an abstract of the land known as an estate. The services are servitudes. These services transitioned into money payments. These money payment services became property taxes here in the States. Highest form of ownership a tenant can have is fee simple absolute or freehold tenure. In many States, government assumed the duties and privileges of "King". The cover story for property taxes is that the monies go for services that benefit you such as fire, police, public schooling, as well as government. The land is registered. Most people have their property tied up in commerce with mortgages and liens. You as tenant hold the land so long as you pay taxes (servitudes) to the State (overlord). Failure to pay for so many years will result in a foreclosure of the property to go back in the hands of the State. Failure to pay taxes results in liens being placed upon the home. This is one of many reasons for the registration of the land. There is a whole lot more than this. It is worthy of its own thread.