Claim that Decedent Wanted to Renounce Her Will and Create a New One, but was Allegedly Prevented from Doing so, was Not a Will Challenge and thus was Not Subject to the Six-Month Limitation Period for Will Contests

Weber, Paul E. v. Charles J. Weber Jr. C.A. No. 8213-MA (April 20, 2015)

This case involved a decedent whose 2004 will left her entire estate to her son Charles and nothing to her other son Paul. Paul sued and alleged that their mother wanted to renounce the 2004 will and create a new will leaving Paul the family home and fifty percent of her remaining estate; however, Paul claims that Charles prevented her from doing so. Paul also contends that after their mother’s death Paul confronted Charles about his actions, and Charles purportedly agreed to honor their mother’s wishes and share her estate with Paul in exchange for Paul’s agreement not to contest the 2004 Will.

Charles sought summary judgment. In seeking summary judgment, Charles raised several arguments, including that this action constitutes a petition for review of the 2004 Will, which is time-barred by 12 Del. C. § 1309. More specifically, Charles contended that he is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law because this action is, in reality, a petition for review of a will that is time-barred under 12 Del. C. § 1309 as it should have been filed no later than six months after the 2004 Will was admitted to probate on January 11, 2010.

But, Master Ayvazian concluded that even though this action is premised on Paul’s apparent belief that the 2004 Will was invalid and did not reflect the testamentary wishes of the decedent, this action is not a will contest. She explained that it was instead a suit for specific performance of an oral contract. Therefore, she found that the six-month limitation period of Section 1309 did not apply here.


William M. Kelleher, Director
Gordon, Fournaris & Mammarella, P.A.