What is usufructo ?

Usufructo, the right to use and enjoy the proceeds of another’s property for a given term, is one of the most common rights in property (derechos reales) present in civil code systems. The beneficiary (usufructuario) of a “usufruct” (as usufructo is known in Louisiana and in other English-speaking civil law jurisdictions) may use and enjoy the “fruits” (proceeds, profit, etc.) from the property, but without damaging or diminishing it. Article 467 of the Spanish Civil Code defines usufructo as the “right to use and reap the proceeds from another’s property with the obligation to preserve its form and substance, unless the instrument granting that right or the law provides otherwise” (derecho a disfrutar los bienes ajenos con la obligación de conservar su forma y sustancia, a no ser que el título de su constitución o la ley autoricen otra cosa). The property owner granting a usufruct is known as a nudo propietario (“naked owner,” similar to the common law “remainderman”). Here are a few of the basic terms and concepts concerning usufructo with their possible English translations:*

  • usufructo—usufruct; beneficial ownership
  • usufructuario—usufructuary; beneficiary of a usufruct; beneficial owner
  • nudo propietario—naked owner; remainderman
  • usufructo sobre cosas inmuebles o muebles—usufruct of real or personal property
  • usufructo de derechos—usufruct of rights
  • usufructo simple—usufruct granted to a single person
  • usufructo múltiple—usufruct granted to two or more persons
  • usufructo simultáneo—simultaneous usufruct (usufruct enjoyed simultaneously by multiple beneficiaries)
  • usufructo sucesivo—successive usufruct (usufruct enjoyed by each beneficiary in succession)
  • usufructo propio; usufructo normal; usufructo de cosa no consumible—usufruct of non-consumable property (with the obligation to preserve its form and substance)
  • usufructo impropio; usufructo anormal; cuasiusufructo—usufruct of consumable property
  • usufructo voluntario—usufruct created voluntarily
  • usufructo legal—usufruct imposed by operation of law
  • usufructo puro—unconditional usufruct
  • usufructo condicional—conditional usufruct
  • usufructo a plazo—usufruct for a term
  • usufructo vitalicio—lifetime usufruct; usufruct for the life of the beneficiary; life estate; lifetime interest
  • usufructo viudal; usufructo del cónyuge viudo—surviving spouse’s usufruct; usufruct of a surviving spouse
  • usufructo testamentario—usufruct created by will
  • usufructo por prescripción—usufruct created by adverse possession

Source: Rebecca Jowers. Léxico temático de terminología jurídica español-inglés. Madrid: Tirant lo Blanch, 2015, pp. 767-769.

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