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Warren v. Albrecht

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Warren sued to quiet title claiming that the phrase, “and in the event there be no descendants of said child or children, then to his sisters,” violated the rule against perpetuities.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    The rule against perpetuities does not apply to an interest that vests at the death of a life tenant.

    Facts.

    McGaughey died in 1943 and willed Warren a life estate in a piece of property. At Warren’s death, the property would go to his living children or there survivors, and if there were no descendants of his children, then to his sisters or their children. If Warren’s sisters or their children were no longer alive at Warren’s death, the property would go to Warren’s legal heirs. Warren sued to quiet title in 1988, when his two sons were still alive and his two sisters were also alive. Warren claimed that the phrase “and in the event there be no descendants of said child or children, then to his sisters,” violated the rule against perpetuities. The lower court ruled the phrase valid.

    Issue.

    Whether the rule against perpetuities applies to an interest that vests at the death of a life tenant?

    Held.

    No. The trial court’s ruling is upheld because the rule against perpetuities does not apply. Warren’s sons get the property in fee simple if Warren dies. The phrase “and in the event there be no descendants of said child or children, then to his sisters,” does not control what happens when the sons die after Warren.

    Discussion.

    The rule against perpetuities does not apply to an interest that vests at the death of a life tenant. Under the rule of perpetuities, an interest must vest 21 years after the interest is created. If there is a possibility that the interest won’t vest within 21 years, then the interest is void.


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