Divide and pay over rule refers to a legal principle in which only words of gift in a testamentary disposition of property are found in the direction to divide or pay at a time subsequent to the death of the testator. Time is taken as the essence of the gift. The rule has been said to be inapplicable when the postponement of payment is merely for the purpose of letting in an intermediate estate or for the convenience of handling the assets that are the subject matter of the limitation.
However, the divide and pay over rule is an artificial concept that sheds no light upon the basic question of expressed testamentary intent. The doctrine is overruled and currently, the rule is not given any weight in determining the existence of a requirement of survival to the date of distribution. [Lytle v. Guilliams, 241 Iowa 523 (Iowa 1950)].
However, the divide and pay over rule has been severely criticized as tending to impair titles and produce litigation. It also defeats the testator's actual intention, as being artificial and unsatisfactory and as being subject to so many limitations as to tend to confusion. It has now been rejected by some courts and is in growing disrepute.