Few rules of law can so quickly strike terror into the hearts of lawyers as the Rule against Perpetuities. This rule, two centuries in development, is designed to prevent tying up property for too long a time. It can be stated in one sentence, but the great nineteenth-century master of the Rule, John Chipman Gray, required more than 400 scrupulously detailed pages to explain it. For deceptive subtleties and unexpected traps it has no equal.
This book views the Rule in the microcosm of Kentucky cases. It shows that perpetuities law in action differs from perpetuities law in the books. It is more chaotic than any writer has ever suggested. While the words of doctrine remain the same, the meaning shifts from case to case. Seemingly the law is working slowly and tortuously to a new and sounder policy base. The book also is designed to provide the practicing lawyer with a simplified statement of the Rule and comprehensive analysis of Kentucky cases.
Lastly, the book deals with an analysis of reform, particularly the 1960 Kentucky legislature reform act, based upon a draft by the author.