The Rule Against Perpetuities Goes to the Oscars

One of the biggest moments of Sunday night’s Oscars broadcast was Jim Rash’s impromptu “loving tribute” to Angelina Jolie’s leg-baring pose. Rash was on stage with Nat Faxon and Alexander Payne accepting the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Descendants, which was adapted from a novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings.

The story in The Descendants is propelled by the need to sell property that has been in the family for generations due to the operation of that bane of first-year law students, the Rule Against Perpetuities. The filmmakers consulted with University of Hawai’i professor Randall Roth to get the details of trust law right (which cannot be said of the other movie to use the RAP as a plot device, Body Heat). And it appears that they’ve also gotten the details of day-to-day life as an attorney in Hawai’i correct, as well. An article in Forbes notes that the movie provides a number of lessons in estate planning.

Who said you couldn’t learn something by going to the movies?


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