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April 30, 2012


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Kent Schenkel


You say, "the pre-War trusts that restricted the beneficiaries' (most frequently daughters') rights to alienate their interests led the way to spendthrift trusts." This sounds like very interesting research and I look forward to reading it. You also say, "The cartoon version of the story of the spendthrift trust is that it emerged in the northeast as a way of protecting spendthrift children from losing their inheritance." Are you suggesting that the spendthrift trust was not used for those purposes or just that it wasn't developed for that market?

Alfred Brophy

Hi Kent,

Thanks for those questions. I was thinking two things: that the common story of the origin of the spendthrift trust is that it was designed for post-war Yankee industrialists. Maybe the origins lie further south (and in the UK) and before the war. The second is that it was designed to protect spendthrift children. Perhaps its origins lie more in the desire to protect daughters from their husbands. The beneficiary in the classic case on the spendthrift trust, Broadway National Bank v. Adams, is a man. I'm wondering if that gives us a distorted sense of the intellectual origins of the trust. There are a lot of moving parts to work through, especially, especially causation.

Shelly Kreiczer-Levy

Hi Al,

Very interesting post, and thanks for mentioning our new article; we're glad you enjoyed it. The research on spendthrift trusts is really fascinating. I wonder whether this gendered dimension could contribute to a comparative project. Spendthrift trusts developed quite differently in England; perhaps your project can shed a new light on these differences? Is there a difference in Women's property rights? I am in the middle of a research that positions Israeli trust law between American and English law, and the relevant social and economic background is truly illuminating.

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