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worthier title n
often cap W&T
: a common-law doctrine providing that an heir receiving a devise of an estate that is the same as the estate he or she would receive by descent if the grantor died without a will receives the property by descent rather than by devise since descent has been thought to convey a better title NOTE: The doctrine of worthier title today is usually considered in light of its implication for inter vivos transfers (that is, transfers made between living persons) to an heir. When a grantor makes an inter vivos conveyance of property followed by a future estate to his or her heirs, the conveyance is deemed to create a reversion in the grantor rather than a remainder, so that the heirs take by descent and receive a superior title than that which would have been received through the remainder.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.