The Rule Against Perpetuities Lives On


The bane of law students, the centuries-old Rule Against Perpetuities is, surprisingly, alive and well in the 21st century. Despite the perception that the rule is merely an academic oddity, in New York it has continued applicability to modern real estate transactions. In fact, in the last year alone, the Rule Against Perpetuities has been the subject of two appellate court decisions, Reynolds v. Gagen [1] and Dimon v. Starr.[2]

The Rule Against Perpetuities was a creature of case law that evolved in England during the 1600s. Its purpose was to ensure the productive use and development of property by simplifying ownership, facilitating the exchange thereof and freeing property from unknown impediments to alienability.[3]

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