Unborn-Widow Rule Law and Legal Definition

Unborn-widow rule refers to a legal assumption raised in the law of real property used to examine the empirically unreasonable consequences of the rule against perpetuities. The rule implies that a beneficiary’s widow is not alive at the testator’s death. Thus a succeeding life estate to her voids all remainders because the interest would not vest within perpetuities period.

For example, when a person leaves property to A for life, and upon A's death, to B’s wife without considering the fact that before A dies, B's current wife could die or divorce B, and that B's next wife may not be born for twenty years after that. Supposing that B was eighteen at the time the gift was made, and his wife left him immediately thereafter, he would be thirty nine when his next wife was born.