grandfathered in

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Grandfathered in refers to conduct that receives the benefit of a grandfather clause, allowing this conduct to receive the treatment of prior laws or rules. After legal changes, most conduct will have to abide by the new rules, but many who relied on the old rules will be “grandfathered in,” allowing them to avoid the changed laws or rules. For example, many states in the late twentieth century changed the legal drinking age from 18 to 21, but people who were already 18-20 and drinking were grandfather in usually, allowing them to continue drinking. For more information on grandfather clauses, see the entry for grandfather clause

[Last updated in February of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]