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This Article assigns a redistributive role to the legal rules of trusts and estates. Unlike business law, trusts and estates has lagged in articulating a comprehensive theory on inequality. Consequently, income inequality is compounded intergenerationally as wealth inequality, with dire consequences for economic productivity and social stability. To move the discourse on wealth inequality, this Article explores the divergent approaches toward inequality in business law and trusts and estates.

Additionally, this Article recasts trusts and estates’ legal rules as wealth transfer mechanisms. Four categories of rules are implicated: (1) rules that interact with the tax system, (2) rules that govern relations between beneficiaries and creditors, (3) rules that govern relations between beneficiaries and trustees, and (4) rules that govern relations among beneficiaries.

More broadly, this Article contributes to three lines of scholarly debates. The first revolves around the propriety of drawing analogies between trust law and the law of enterprise organization. The second is whether legal rules or the tax system better effectuates redistribution. The third is whether legal rules should reflect our notions of fairness or welfare.