Master Concludes the Will Provision is Not Ambiguous

Delaware Fiduciary Litigation Blog

Posted January 26, 2018

IMO Theodore Brans C.A. No. 2017-0851-PWG (January 23, 2018)

       Petitioners, co-executors and heirs of the decedent’s estate, argued that a will provision that required one of them buy out the other’s interest in certain real property or that property would be sold and the proceeds equally divided was ambiguous because it did not allow for the option of them electing to jointly own the property. The Master refused to find the provision at issue ambiguous and gave that provision its literal meaning based on the express language used. As a result, the Master denied the Petitioners’ request to construe the will provision to be read to allow joint ownership by mutual election of the heirs.

       From a litigator's perspective, it was fairly unique to see the primary beneficiaries acting in unison in an estate case before the Court of Chancery. Unfortunately, however, their joint effort just was not supported by the express language in the will.


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