what is the Rule Against Perpetuity?


what is the Rule Against Perpetuity?

In: 6

the rule against perpetuities is a legal rule regarding primarily real estate…It keeps someone from using a will or a deed (or other legal instrument) from controlling who can own private property or how it can be used long after they are dead. (which was a problem in England amongst the landed gentry in the olden days.) It basically says any contingencies written into the document, that restricts who can buy or sell property, or how it can be used, will expire 21 years after the death of the person who placed those contingencies in the document.

The very gist of the rule is that, when you die, you can leave behind instructions for who gets your stuff, and you can attach strings and conditions, but, eventually, *someone* has to end up owning your stuff free and clear. You can’t control property forever from beyond the grave.

The action of the rule, condensed and summarized, is that all the parts of the plan for how to divide your estate have to be in place at the time of your death. You can’t leave property to someone whom your executor couldn’t, at least hypothetically, identify for sure at the time of your death.

So you can’t put your money in a trust for twenty years, then divide it equally among all your children and grandchildren, because some of those grandchildren may not have existed when you died. And in fact, the very possibility of that happening may make that section of your will completely invalid, and your heirs will have to go court and fight it out.