The American Law Institute Completes the Restatement (Third) of Property: Wills and Other Donative Transfers

Dec 01, 2011, 15:09 ET from The American Law Institute

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Law Institute (ALI), the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and improve the law, today announced that it has published the third and final volume of its Restatement (Third) of Property: Wills and Other Donative Transfers. The publication completes a 20-year project to update the law of wills and succession. The latest volume provides a comprehensive and detailed account of the rules governing class gifts, powers of appointment, future interests, and perpetuities.

The 757-page hardbound text, product code 1R3WDTV3OT, costs $131. To order, visit the Publications section of or call the ALI Customer Service Department at 1-800-253-6397. Volumes 1 and 2 also are available for purchase.

Among the highlights of the new volume are provisions modernizing and simplifying the law of future interests. The class-gift rules respond to legal problems that have arisen from recent scientific breakthroughs in reproductive technology, resolving the succession implications of posthumous conception, surrogate motherhood, and sperm and egg donations. The work provides a comprehensive treatment of the rules governing powers of appointment and concludes with a simplified formulation of the rule against perpetuities. The Restatement supplies a strongly principled explanation of the reasons for limiting dead-hand control of property.

Earlier volumes of this Restatement were published in 1999 and 2003. Those volumes cover intestate distribution, the execution and revocation of wills, and post-execution events affecting the meaning of wills, such as ademption, lapse, and antilapse. The Restatement provides unified treatment of probate and nonprobate transfers, including the construction, reformation, and modification of wills and other donative documents.

Among the innovations endorsed in the Restatement are rules excusing harmless errors in compliance with the formal requirements for wills and gifts and permitting a court to reform the text of a will or other donative document in a case of mistake, as when a drafter or typist accidentally deletes or misrenders an intended term.

The Restatement's early volumes have already influenced decisional law, and there is every reason to expect that the concluding volumes will be equally authoritative.

The Reporters who drafted this Restatement are Professor Lawrence W. Waggoner of the University of Michigan Law School, and Professor John H. Langbein of Yale Law School. They obtained the close review of a distinguished group of expert Advisers and of the Members Consultative Group for the project. Under ALI's deliberative procedures, all Restatements undergo detailed consideration at plenary sessions of the Institute's membership of judges, legal scholars, and lawyers.

Visit the ALI website to download a PDF of the full version of this press release.

About The American Law Institute
The American Law Institute is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law. The Institute (made up of over 4300 lawyers, judges, and law professors of the highest qualifications) drafts, discusses, revises, and publishes Restatements of the Law, model statutes, and principles of law that are enormously influential in the courts and legislatures, as well as in legal scholarship and education. ALI has long been influential internationally and, in recent years, more of its work has become international in scope.

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SOURCE The American Law Institute