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58-506. Same (doctrine of worthier title). In the case of a will to heirs, or to next of kin of the testator, or to a person an heir or next of kin, the common-law doctrine of worthier title is abolished and the devisees or devisee shall take under the will and not by descent.

History: L. 1939, ch. 181, § 6; July 1.

Law Review and Bar Journal References:

1957-59 survey of real property and future interests, James K. Logan, 8 K.L.R. 333, 340 (1959).

Validity of revocable trusts, 11 K.L.R. 375, 377 (1963).


1. Common law doctrine abrogated by this section. Jones v. Petrie, 156 K. 241, 243, 132 P.2d 396.

2. Doctrine of "worthier title" is definitely abolished. In re Estate of Casey, 156 K. 590, 598, 134 P.2d 665.

3. Cited in holding Kansas probate code does not abrogate common law in state; presumption of revocation recognized. In re Estate of Mettee, 10 K.A.2d 184, 186, 694 P.2d 1325 (1985).

Judicial Council, 1939:

The common-law doctrine of worthier title, to the effect that one who under the laws of descent would take property as an heir cannot take it by will, was established in England as early as 1555 (Hind v. Lyon, 2 Dy. 124a, 73 Eng. Repr. 271). To inherit property was more "worthy" than to acquire it by "purchase." It was an outgrowth of the feudal doctrine of primogeniture. Courts had difficulty applying the doctrine when the property devised was not the same in quantity or quality as the devisee would have received as an heir, or where the devise was upon a condition either precedent or subsequent. In 1833 (3 & 4 Will, IV, c. 106, §3) the doctrine was abandoned in England by an act of Parliament, which provided that an heir to whom lands are devised takes as devisee. In the meantime the doctrine had found a foothold in the American colonies and later in some of the states, with varying results in its application. (See 24 Ill. Law Rev. 627.) We have no need for the doctrine in this state.

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