Washington Law Review


Keith L. Butler


The common law rule against perpetuities has had a storied career spanning several centuries and two legal systems. The rule developed to curb the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, and to limit the control of property by those no longer alive to use it. Legendary for its complexity, the rule has undergone statutory reform in many states; some states have gone so fara s to repeal the rule outright. Washington has embraced two of the major reforms of the rule and is considering repeal. This Comment argues that the rule, even with reform, no longer serves the policies for which it was designed. The threats posed by "dead hand control" are no longer pressing, and extant legal mechanisms are adequate to deal with the threats that remain. Reform is too mild a response to the rule's shortcomings. Washington, therefore, should repeal the rule.

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