Perpetuity Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Perpetuity, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Perpetuity?

n. It means forever or something that is indefinite.

History and Meaning of Perpetuity

Perpetuity refers to something that lasts forever, with no set end date. In legal terms, it's most commonly associated with financial or property arrangements. For example, a trust set up to provide for future generations might be designed to last in perpetuity. This means that the trust's assets would continue to generate income or provide financial benefits to beneficiaries without ever being distributed or the trust being wound up.

Examples of Perpetuity

  1. A charitable trust is set up to fund research and development of a cure for a specific disease in perpetuity.
  2. A company grants a perpetual license to a software product to a customer. This means that the customer can use the software product forever, without any end date set or the need to renew the license.
  3. A wealthy individual leaves their property to a foundation or organization for the perpetual upkeep and maintenance of a public park or facility.

Legal Terms Similar to Perpetuity

  1. Life estate: a legal concept where a person is given the right to use or occupy a property for the rest of their life.
  2. Trust: a legal arrangement where a person or entity (trustee) holds assets on behalf of beneficiaries.
  3. Endowment: a financial gift or donation that is meant to be invested for the long-term benefit of an organization or purpose.