An estate is a legal entity denoting the character and quality of rights an owner possesses in a property and for estate management purposes; it could be regarded as a unit of control.
The different features of an estate could be enumerated as follows:
(i) Physical identity.
(ii) Economic condition.
(iii) Legal status.
(iv) Managerial character.
- Physical Identity
The physical features of an estate have a bearing on the management problems concerned with it. The size and shape of an estate is fundamental to its management. For instance, the management of a small land holding is quite different from that of a very large holding which may cover hundreds of square kilometers. In the same way, the management of a compacted estate is quite different from that which is scattered throughout the country.
The extent to which land has been developed also forms part of the physical identity.
The environment in which an estate is situated also has a bearing, its management. No estate can be managed in isolation of the factors resulting from its situation which moulds its character and determines the conditions of its management.
- Economic Condition
Estate management is a pure economic process, and this greatly governs the process of management of estate. The economic condition is the nature of its use. Whether it is being used for owner occupation or the erection of structure for residential, commercial or industrial purposes or for the rental income it will generate, the fact remains that all are geared towards economic goals.
- Legal Status
An estate presumes certain rights which are enforceable at law, and it is the legal character that determines the quality of control.
An owner of any property is the one able to exercise power over property and at the same time, concerns himself with its management.
The rights, privileges and obligations comprised in an estate must be clearly understood if effective management is to be envisaged. The rights of ownerships cannot be viewed in isolation.
They must conform and work within the legal framework of which they form part.
It should be noted that any legal system is a product of social, ethical, religious, economic, political and other pressures which govern the choice and decisions of society as a whole. For an efficient estate management to take place therefore, the above essential human relationships within an estate cannot be overemphasized.
- Managerial character:
Every estate constitutes a separate unit of control even though it may be physically divided into several parcels. At times, decentralization 5 physically divided into several parcels. At times, decentralization may be necessary, especially, where there are large or divided estates.
In such a case, the policy- making process of the estate that is merely divided into fragments in accordance with the number of prevailing estates.
The success in these circumstances will largely depend on the suitability of the estate organization, the appropriateness of the unit of the management supervision, the smoothness of the command from the higher level of the controlling hierarchy and the proper delegation of responsibility.
The sum of the estate features or characteristics represents its personality, and this should be properly integrated.
An estate could be said to be badly integrated if economically it could profitably absorb a higher rate of capital investment, but legally, it is divided in such a way that no single owner has a strong interest but its managerial organization is incapable of exercising proper control.
The first principle of estate management therefore is the need to shape its personality into an integral unit.