Toward a Model Law of Estates and Future Interests

57 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2008 Last revised: 17 Dec 2008

See all articles by D. Benjamin Barros

D. Benjamin Barros

University of Toledo - College of Law

Date Written: August 21, 2008


The American law of estates and future interests is tremendously complex. This complexity is unjustifiable because it serves no modern purpose. Many of the distinctions between types of interests in the current system of ownership are vestiges of ancient English feudal concepts and owe their place in the law solely to historical accident. This article develops a proposed model law designed to simplify and modernize the basic property ownership system. The proposals made here differ substantially from prior suggestions for legislative reform, and reflect issues of enactability and retroactivity that previously have been neglected in the literature. The article both builds on and critiques the recently-released preliminary draft of Division VII of the Restatement Third, Property (Wills and Other Donative Transfers), and explains why a model law will be more effective than a Restatement in achieving modernization and reform of the estates and future interests system.

Keywords: property, future interests, donative transfers, estates, Restatement Third, Property

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

Barros, D. Benjamin, Toward a Model Law of Estates and Future Interests (August 21, 2008). Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-48, Available at SSRN: or

D. Benjamin Barros (Contact Author)

University of Toledo - College of Law ( email )

2801 W. Bancroft Street
Toledo, OH 43606
United States

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