Navigating the Rule Against Perpetuities in Illinois: Implications for Living Trusts

Estate planning is a meticulous process that requires careful consideration of various legal principles, one of which is the Rule Against Perpetuities. This rule plays a crucial role in determining the validity of provisions within living trusts in the state of Illinois. In this article, we will explore the Rule Against Perpetuities in the context of living trusts and its impact on the distribution of assets over time.

Understanding the Rule Against Perpetuities:

The Rule Against Perpetuities is a legal doctrine aimed at preventing the creation of “remote contingent interests” that may vest too far into the future. In simpler terms, it limits the duration of time during which an interest in property must vest, ensuring that beneficiaries are ascertainable within a reasonable period.

Application to Living Trusts:

Living trusts, also known as revocable trusts, are popular estate planning tools that allow individuals to manage their assets during their lifetime and facilitate the seamless transfer of those assets upon death. However, the Rule Against Perpetuities introduces certain considerations when drafting provisions in a living trust.

In Illinois, the common law Rule Against Perpetuities has been modified by statute (755 ILCS 27/1 et seq.), which essentially limits the perpetuities period to 90 years. This means that any interest in property created in a living trust must vest within this time frame to comply with the rule.

Practical Implications for Living Trusts:

1. **Vesting Period:**
Provisions in a living trust must be carefully crafted to ensure that any contingent interests are structured to vest within the permissible time frame. Failing to comply with this requirement could render the provision invalid, leading to potential complications in the distribution of assets.

2. **Flexibility and Amendments:**
Living trusts offer flexibility as they can be amended or revoked during the grantor’s lifetime. This flexibility allows for adjustments to trust provisions, including those related to the Rule Against Perpetuities, as circumstances change or new legal developments arise.

3. **Legal Counsel:**
Given the intricacies of the Rule Against Perpetuities and the potential impact on living trusts, seeking the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney is crucial. An attorney can assist in drafting trust provisions that comply with the rule, ensuring the effective and lawful distribution of assets.


The Rule Against Perpetuities is a vital consideration in the realm of living trusts, influencing how provisions are structured to align with legal requirements. As individuals navigate the complexities of estate planning in Illinois, understanding and addressing the implications of this rule in the context of living trusts is essential for the seamless transfer of assets and the fulfillment of one’s testamentary wishes. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can provide invaluable guidance in navigating the nuances of the Rule Against Perpetuities within the framework of living trusts.