The RAP strikes again!
Posted by brightcoast on May 10, 2011
aka The Rule Against Perpetuities aka the biggest pain in the ass Real Property Law has to offer.
The Rule states, “No interest is good unless it must vest, if at all, not later than twenty-one years after the death of some life in being at the creation of the interest.”
Here is the link to the article detailing (well not much detailing) how Mr. Wellington R. Burt made it so that the vast majority of his fortune would not be distributed to his children, or even grandchildren, but rather 21 years after the death of the last grandchild. Here’s where the issue may lie. Although there is the possibility that this is the good ‘ole class gift subject to open, I can’t help but wonder whether for RAP purposes, the last grandchild would have to be a life in being at the time the will was created, which is technically impossible. Perhaps only a grandchild had to be a life in being at the time the will was created, thus validating the binding nature of the lack of distribution until after the last grandchild’s death + 21 years. (The language is eerily similar to the rule itself, presumably on purpose, so as to avoid invalidation via the RAP).
Perhaps more interesting though, is the fact that this is a featured news story on Yahoo News’s front page, which suggests that non-lawyers are actually remotely interested in reading about the types of stories that lead to confusing legal principles that still linger though most of the dynastic wealth/dead hand control is nowhere near what it used to be. (Think feudalism).
It’s further intriguing to ponder what estate tax will apply to the corpus of someone’s estate who died in 1919, but was/is not distributed until 2011.