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CHAPTER 12

The Rule Against Perpetuities

    INTRODUCTION

The Rule Against Perpetuities (RAP) is a judicially created rule to encourage the alienability (transferability) of property. The Rule Against Perpetuities balances a tension between landowners who want to maintain land in the family unit for many generations and judges, merchants, and members of future generations who want land to be freely alienable. After centuries of legal invention and counteractions, the courts in a series of cases between 1682 and 1833 settled on a Rule Against Perpetuities that allows a landowner during his lifetime (or at his death through a will) to control ownership into some future generations, but only for a limited time. The Rule requires “vesting” within a certain time. The Rule will void or invalidate future interests that “vest too remotely.”

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