Monday, October 9, 2006

A Bet Against the Rule Against Perpetuities

As I noted a few months ago, Pennsylvania recently abolished the Rule Against Perpetuities.  I wanted to go on record with this prediction:  I think that within ten years, more than half of United States jurisdictions will have abolished the RAP outright, and that virtually all will have at least permitted perpetual trusts.  (According to the handy table in the new edition of D&K, Alaska, Idaho, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wisconsin have all abolished the RAP outright; a total of 21 U.S. jurisdictions presently allow perpetual or 1,000 year trusts, most by allowing an opt-out of the RAP in a trust document).  I have to confess that I have a slight conflict of interest, because I'm working on an article on how to make abolition of the RAP more workable, particularly for interests not held in trust.  But I'm pretty confident that the RAP is a doctrine that will not last another generation, in part because the trust management industry has the incentive to push reform legislation.

Ben Barros

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