The rule is notoriously difficult to properly apply, as pointed out by a 1961 decision of the Supreme Court of California which held that it was not legal malpractice for an attorney to draft a will that inadvertently violated the rule against perpetuities.The Uniform Statutory Rule Against Perpetuities validates non-vested interests that would otherwise be void as violating the common law rule if that interest actually vests within 90 years of its creation; it has been enacted in 29 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia), the District of Columbia, and the U. Virgin Islands, and is currently under consideration in New York.
By its terms, the rule limits the period to at the latest 21 years after the death of the last identifiable individual living at the time the interest was created ("life in being").
This "measuring" life (often incorrectly called the "validating" life) need not have been a purchaser or taker in the conveyance or devise.
After her great-grandchildren, T really has no interest in who enjoys Blackacre, as she does not know them. T's lawyer drafts a will with the following clause: What the lawyer has created is a life estate in Blackacre to T's children, a successive life estate in Blackacre to T's grandchildren, followed by a fee simple future interest in T's great-grandchildren.
However, the rule against perpetuities would void the interest to T's great-grandchildren, and leave the will creating the successive life estates with a reversionary interest in T's estate. The rules states that any interest must vest, if at all, within 21 years of a life in being at the time of the instrument.
The judges believed that tying up property too long beyond the lives of people living at the time was wrong, although the exact period was not determined until another case, Cadell v. The rule against perpetuities is closely related to another doctrine in the common law of property, the rule against unreasonable restraints on alienation.
Both stem from an underlying principle or reference in the common law disapproving of restraints on property rights.The grant to B would be void as it is possible alcohol would be sold on the premises more than 21 years after the deaths of A, B, and the grantor.However, as the rule does not apply to grantors, the possibility of reverter in the grantor (or his heirs) would be valid.For example, the grant "For A so long as alcohol is not sold on the premises, then to B" would violate the rule as to B.However, the conveyance to B would be stricken, leaving "To A so long as alcohol is not sold on the premises." This would create a fee simple determinable in A, with a possibility of reverter in the grantor (or the grantor's heirs).All other parts that do not violate the rule are still valid.