Entails were legal arrangements by which ownership of land was confined within a single family, passing at death from generation to generation. Known in legal jargon as a "fee tail," an entailed estate was limited to a person and his biological heirs. Developed in medieval England , entails were well known in colonial  North Carolina. The state's first constitution directed the General Assembly  to legislate against entails, and a law was passed in 1784  that has remained in force.
John V. Orth, "Does the Fee Tail Exist in North Carolina?" Wake Forest Law Review 23 (1988).
Acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, 1784, DocSouth, UNC Libraries: http://docsouth.unc.edu/csr/index.html/document/csr24-0014 
1 January 2006 | Orth, John V.