Hermes heir to bequeath half of $13 billion fortune to gardener

France does have prescriptive rules about offsprings’ shares of any estate but I think they may today only apply if there is no will (I believe that was not always the case).


Yeah, that’s the rules of intestacy. That’s different that the rule against perpetuities. The RAP sprang out of English common law, so you mostly only see it in countries whose legal systems trace back to that, like ours in the US. It began because the British aristocracy were literally locking up their estates in perpetuity, preventing their descendants from ever selling the property. This presented a problem for both the families and for the crown when some of these families found themselves financially hard up. So they instituted a rule that says you could only limit the disposition of the property for x number of years after some heir living at the time of the creation of the property interest dies. A recent, and pretty interesting, example of this rule at work was on display last year when Disney modified the Reedy Creek Improvement District after DeSantis grabbed control of it.


Even then it’s a bit of a mess, enough to drive the plots of a few Jane Austen novels.


Oh, the Rule Against Perpetuities is a mess even today, even with attempts to simplify it. It is the bane of law school students taking property law or studying for the bar.


I would just like to make the obvious point that if the gardener inherits billions, it’s still a billionaire receiving all the dead guy’s money.

The problem isn’t with who gets the money (even if it’s a genuine charity). The problem is that billions of dollars can be had at all, which is a clear symptom of economic malfunction. The least we could do is to say that when a billionaire dies, we don’t just let some rando step in to perpetuate the problem. Out of, what, sentiment? “Sorry your teachers have to buy pencils out of their salary, but we can’t just use this dead guy’s money to fix the problem forever; it might hurt his ghost’s feelings”.

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