The American Law Institute Completes the Restatement Third of Trusts

The American Law Institute (ALI), the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and improve the law, today announced that it has published the fourth and final volume of its Restatement of the Law Third, Trusts. The publication completes a 20-year project to restate the law of trusts. The latest volume covers trust administration, particularly breaches of trust and the appropriate legal remedies.

The 220-page hardbound text, product code 1R3TRV4OT, costs $131. To order, visit the Publications section of or call the ALI Customer Service Department at 1-800-253- 6397.

Like other Restatements, the Restatement of Trusts aims to organize and explain the principles of the field. The work identifies social goals, such as implementing a settlor’s purposes, bounding those purposes with society’s appropriate limitations, and applying rules efficiently and fairly. It then offers guidance to trustees, lawyers, and judges by explaining and illustrating the governing rules and discussing relevant cases, statutes, and secondary sources.

The three earlier volumes of this Restatement were published in 2003 and 2007. Volumes 1 and 2 cover the nature, creation, and elements of trusts; interests and rights of beneficiaries; and trust modification and termination. Volume 3 analyzes the law of trustee powers and duties and contains an updated version of the Prudent Investor Rule. The four-volume set entirely supersedes the five volumes of the Restatement Second, Trusts, and the 1992 volume of the Restatement Third, Trusts: Prudent Investor Rule.

Professor Edward C. Halbach, Jr. of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, was the Reporter for this Restatement. Professor Thomas P. Gallanis of the University of Iowa College of Law and Professor Randall W. Roth of the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law, served as Associate Reporters for Volume 4. In the ALI tradition, highly qualified Advisers reviewed drafts and gave the Reporters constructive criticism, as did a Members Consultative Group, the Council, and the membership at numerous annual meetings. 

The Restatement of Trusts was prepared in close coordination with the ALI’s Restatement Third, Property: Wills and Other Donative Transfers, which concluded with its third and final volume in 2011. The Restatement of Property, although centered on the law of wills and will substitutes, covers the principles of construction applicable to dispositive provisions in donative instruments of all sorts, including trusts.

Both Restatements are important and authoritative resources for trust and estate lawyers, not only when preparing to argue cases at trial and appellate levels, but also in the work of drafting and interpreting dispositive provisions in trusts, wills, and other donative documents. The early volumes of both Restatements have already influenced decisional law, and there is every reason to expect that the concluding volumes will be equally authoritative.