Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, January 7, 2008

Class Gifts and the Rule of Convenience


David M. Becker (Associate Dean for External Relations and Joseph H. Zumbalen Professor Emeritus of the Law of Property at the Washington University School of Law) has recently published his article entitled A Critical Look at Class Gifts and the Rule of Convenience, 42 Real Prop. Prob. & Tr. J. 491 (2007).

Here is the editors' synopsis:

One issue that affects the use of class gifts in estate planning is the determination of what event should fix the maximum membership of the gift. The rule of convenience is a default construction used by courts to close artificially the membership of a class gift when distribution must be made to a member of such class before the time in which the addition of members has become physically impossible. This Article takes a critical look at the rule of convenience and considers whether this default construction should be amended or rejected. After examining the rule, its applications, and underlying rationale, the author reviews and critiques other possible default constructions. The Article concludes with a recommendation of reform through a revision of the rule of convenience and the adoption of a more flexible default construction.


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