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Merger

lesser merged offense contract

The combination or fusion of one thing or right into another thing or right of greater or larger importance so that the lesser thing or right loses its individuality and becomes identified with the greater whole.

In contract law, agreements are merged when one contract is absorbed into another. The merger of contracts is generally based on the language of the agreement and the intent of the parties. The merger of contracts is not the same as a merger clause, which is a provision in a contract stating that the written terms cannot be varied by prior or oral agreements.

Estates affecting ownership of land are merged where a greater estate and a lesser estate coincide and are held by the same individual. For example, merger occurs when a person who leases land from another subsequently is given ownership of it upon the death of the lessor who has so provided in his will.

In CRIMINAL LAW, the commission of a major crime that includes a lesser offense results in the latter being merged in the former. For example, the crime of rape includes the lesser offense of SEXUAL ABUSE which is merged into one prosecution for rape.

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