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Understanding the rule against perpetuities

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2023 | Estate Planning

Property law in New York contains more than its share of obscure and complex stipulations. One of these is known as the rule against perpetuities. This rule is an excellent example of how long-ingrained laws can influence how property is transferred. It can, occasionally, have a highly contentious effect on the execution of a will.

Defining the rule against perpetuities

Estate planning law in New York aims to provide an efficient method for the inheritance and transference of property. However, this same rule can sometimes rule out a property staying in the hands of a family. This can occur when adverse conditions prevent the terms of a will being executed in a timely manner.

The rule against perpetuities expressly states that the conditions of a will are null and void after 21 years. This means that the author of the will or estate plan cannot legally guarantee that their property will automatically fall into the hands of a family member.

Estate planning is essential for property transference

Estate planning in New York is an essential part of guaranteeing that the assets you leave in your will or trust will benefit your heirs. Leaving clear and direct instructions for the distribution of your assets is the best way to avoid legal wrangling. The sooner your assets are distributed, the less chance there will be for the law of perpetuities to apply.

This rule has been challenged on multiple occasions. However, it can still be found on the books in most states. The best way to navigate around it is vesting a part of your estate to a specific individual. This can help end potential disputes over who is owed what and when they receive it.