Abeyance (from the Old French abeance meaning "gaping") is a state of expectancy in respect of property, titles or office, when the right to them is not vested in any one person, but awaits the appearance or determination of the true owner. In law, the term abeyance can be applied only to such future estates as have not yet vested or possibly may not vest. For example, an estate is granted to A for life, with remainder to the heir of B. Following A's death, if B is still alive, the remainder is in abeyance, for B has no heirs until B's death. Similarly, the freehold of a benefice, on the death of the incumbent, is said to be in abeyance until the next incumbent takes possession.
This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. (February 2018)
The term hold in abeyance is used in lawsuits and court cases when a case is temporarily put on hold.