The trustee bank petitioned for instructions as to the proper disposition of the remainder of a trust of personal property, the principal of which amounted to some $29,000 upon the life beneficiary's death in 1942. The donor had provided for a life estate in the income, the principal to go to the settler's statutory next of kin under the laws of intestacy of the state of Massachusetts in default of the exercise by the settler of a reserved power of appointment. The court, having held that a will which Nicolls, the settler, had executed in favor of various friends of long standing was not an exercise of the power of appointment reserved in the trust instrument, the legatees then sought to reach the fund by invoking the rule of "worthier title," whereby, since a remainder in the trust fund had been created by the trust instrument to the grantor's heirs, and a title by descent is deemed a better title than one by purchase, the fund would revert to the settlor's estate and be distributed under his will. The court held that the doctrine of "worthier title," at least as it applied to equitable interests and interests in personality, was no more than a rule of construction which could be outweighed by a showing of a contrary intent. In this case such an intent was shown. National Shawmut Bank of Boston v. Joy, (Mass. 1944) 53 N. E. (2d) 113.
Margaret Groefsema S.Ed.,
FUTURE INTERESTS-WORTHIER TITLE DOCTRINE APPLIED TO REMAINDER TO NEXT OF KIN WHERE THE SUBJECT MATTER IS PERSONALTY,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol43/iss5/7