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Accumulation

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ACCUMULATION. An act of Par liament (39 & 40 Geo. III. c. 98), after declaring in the preamble that "it is ex pedient that all dispositions of real or personal estates, whereby the profits and produce thereof are directed to be accu mulated or the enjoyment thereof post poned, should be made subject to the restrictions thereinafter contained," pro ceeds to enact to the following effect. No person can settle or dispose of pro perty by deed, will, or otherwise, so as to accumulate the income thereof, either wholly or partially, "for any longer term than the life or lives of any such grantor or grantors, settlor or settlors, or the term of twenty-one years from the death of any such grantor, settlor, devisor, or testator, or during the minority or re spective minorities of any person or per sons who shall be living or in venire as mere at the time of the death of such grantor, devisor, or testator, or daring the minority or respective minorities only of any person or persons who, un der the uses or trusts of the deed, sur render, will, or other assurances directing such accumulations, would for the time being, if of full age, be entitled to the rents, issues, and profits, or the interest, dividends, and annual produce so di rected to be accumulated. And in every case where accumulation shall be directed otherwise than as aforesaid, such direc tion shall be null and void, and the rents, issues, profits, and produce of suchpro perty so directed to be accumulated shall, so long as the same shall be directed to be accumulated contrary to the provisions of this act, go to and be received by such person or persons as would have been en titled thereto, if such accumulation had not been directed." Sect. 2 provides, "that nothing in this act contained shall extend to any provision for payment of debts of any grantor, settlor, or devisor, or other person or persons, or to any pro vision for raising portions for any child or children of any person taking any in terest under any such conveyance, settle ment, or devise, or to any direction touching the produce of timber or wood upon any lands or tenements ; but that all such provisions shall be made and given as if this act had not passed." Sect. 3 provides that the act shall not extend to dispositions of heritable property in Scotland.

This act was passed in consequence of the will of Peter Thellusson, a Genevese by birth, but settled in London, who died in 1797, leaving a landed estate worth about 40001. a year, and personal pro perty to the amount of 600.000/. He

devised and bequeathed this large pro perty to trustees upon trust to accumulate the annual proceeds of his property and Invest them in the purchase of lands, during the lives of his sons, grandsons, and the issue of sons and grandsons, either living or in the womb (in ventre sa mere), at the time of his death, and the lives of the survivors and the sur vivor of them ; and after this period to be conveyed to the lineal descendants of his sons in tail male. According to the provisions of this will, the proceeds of the property were not to be enjoyed, but to be accumulated and laid out in land during the lives of all his sons and grand sons, and the issue of sons or grandsons living, or unborn, at his death, provided such issue was then in the womb. After long litigation, it was finally decided by the House of Lords that the trusts for accu mulation were legal (Thellusson v. Word ford, 11 Ves. 112); but the act which was passed shortly after has prevented such ac cumulation fora longer period than during the minority of persons living or in ventre sa mere at the time of the death of the person who so disposes of his property. The act, as it will be observed, mentions various periods, any one of which may be selected by the person who directs the accumulation of his property. There were nine lives in being at the time of Thel lusson's death, and the enjoyment of the property was consequently deferred till they had all died.

The general rule of law in this country is, that a man may dispose of his property as he pleases ; he may give it to whom he likes to be enjoyed ; or he may give it to trustees to apply to such purposes as he pleases. But various restraints have been imposed by statutes on this general power, and the restraint upon accumu lation is one of them. The Statute of Mortmain, as it is commonly called [Moarmang], is another instance in which the legislature has interfered with a man's general power of disposing of his property. In the case of accumula tion, which a man directs to be made after his death, the limits of time now aT...)wed deem amply sufficient for any reasonable purpose. We may conceive various good reasons against allowing a man an unlimited power of directing the accumulation of property after his death ; and it is not easy to see that any mischief is likely to arise from limiting this power, as is done by this act. Another instance of this legal limitation of a man's disposi tion of his property is noticed under PERPETUITY.