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  • In the Matter of Estate of WatersIn the Matter of Estate of Waters
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In the Matter of Estate of Waters

Supreme Court of Delaware
647 A.2d 1091 (1994)


Elizabeth Waters was elderly and had cancer. Waters’s family, including her cousin Lillian Young, decided that Waters should create a will and give Young a place to live for the rest of Young’s life. Young’s sister contacted attorney Brian Murphy. Murphy was told that Waters was ill and wanted to make a will leaving her house to Young for life and to her granddaughter, Clare Trent (plaintiff), upon Young’s death. Murphy prepared the will without any contact with Waters. Murphy met Waters for the first time when he went to her home to have Waters sign the will. After Waters’s death, Trent brought an action against Waters’s estate (defendant), challenging the will. Trent argued that Waters lacked testamentary capacity and that Young had unduly influenced Waters in the creation of the will. At trial, Murphy testified that Young was present when the will was executed. However, Young testified that she was not present. Murphy also testified that he believed Waters had testamentary capacity at the time of execution. In addition to testifying at the hearing, Murphy represented the Waters estate in the will-contest proceedings. The state chancery court found that Trent’s challenge to the will was without merit and that the will had been properly admitted to probate. Trent appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Holland, J.)

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