mortmain statute.A law that limits gifts and other dispositions of land to corporations (esp. charitable ones) and that prohibits corporations from holding land in perpetuity. • In England, laws such as the Provisions of Westminster and Magna Carta essentially required the Crown’s authorization before land could vest in a corporation. The object was to prevent lands from being held by religious corporations in perpetuity. Although this type of restriction was not generally part of the common law in the United States, it influenced the enactment of certain state laws restricting the amount of property that a corporation could hold for religious or charitable purposes.

— Also termed mortmain act; statute of mortmain. [Cases: Corporations 434. C.J.S. Corporations §§ 644–646.]

[Blacks Law 8th]