from the District Court of Natrona County The Honorable
Catherine E. Wilking, Judge
Representing Appellant: James R. Salisbury, The Salisbury Law
Firm, P.C., Cheyenne, Wyoming; Robert "Bob" Mullen,
Casper, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Salisbury.
Representing Appellee: P. Craig Silva and Charles S. Chapin,
Williams, Porter, Day, and Neville, P.C., Casper, Wyoming.
Argument by Mr. Silva.
DAVIS, C.J., and BURKE [*] , FOX, KAUTZ, and BOOMGAARDEN, JJ.
Appellant Robert Oscar Britain is the personal representative
of his mother, Patricia Ann Britain's, estate. He filed a
declaratory judgment claim challenging a codicil to
Patricia's will on the grounds she did not have the
capacity to execute the will codicil and his sister, Appellee
Kelly L. Britain, exerted undue influence over
The district court dismissed Personal Representative
Robert's claim, concluding that his challenges to the
codicil could not be brought through a declaratory judgment
action. We affirm.
The dispositive issue in this case is:
Whether the personal representative of an estate can bring a
declaratory judgment action to challenge a will codicil on
the grounds that the testator lacked capacity and/or was
Patricia passed away on June 13, 2016. She had three children
- Robert, Kelly and Cindy Wheeler. Patricia's last will
and testament, dated June 3, 2011, was admitted to probate on
July 29, 2016. Pursuant to the terms of the will, Robert was
appointed as the personal representative and Patricia's
estate was to be distributed as follows: 
1. I give, devise and bequeath all of the Flying A Ranch,
Inc. Stock which I own at the time of my death to my son,
Robert Oscar Britain.
2. I give[, ] devise and bequeath to my daughter, Kelly L.
Britain[, ] the surface rights to the here[in]after described
The mineral rights to said real property shall be equally
divided between my son, Robert Oscar Britain[, ] and my
daughter, Kelly L. Britain.
[real property description omitted]
3. I give [and] bequeath the sum of $5[, ]000 to my
daughter[, ] Cindy Wheeler.
I hereby give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue
and remainder of my estate, real, personal[, ] and mixed,
wheresoever situated, whereof I may be seized or possessed or
which I may be in any manner entitled, or to which I may be
interested at the time of my death, unto my children, Robert
Oscar Britain and Kelly L. Britain, share and share alike and
in equal shares.
will also included an in terrorem or no-contest
clause which stated:
Should any person named herein challenge this Will or contest
any provision hereof, to each such person pursuing such
challenge or contest I bequeath the sum of One Dollar ($1.00)
in lieu of any bequest or devise otherwise provided for such
person; provided however, that any proceeding or action [in]
the nature of a declaratory action, or for any accounting or
for removal of my personal representative for cause shall not
for these purposes be deemed to be a challenge or contest of
The first codicil to Patricia's last will and testament,
dated June 24, 2013, was filed in the district court on
August 26, 2016. The first codicil changed the estate
distribution as follows:
I give, devise, and bequeath all of the Flying A Ranch, Inc.
Stock which I own at the time of my death to be divided
equally one half to my son, Robert Oscar Britain, and one
half to my daughter, Kelly L. Britain.
On October 12, 2016, Personal Representative Robert filed a
motion for approval of a revised notice of probate, stating
that Kelly had produced the first codicil that was filed with
the court. He requested the court enter an order approving a
revised notice of probate which reiterated the original
notice of probate, "except that it is to describe the
document entitled First Codicil to Last Will and Testament of
Patricia A. Britain . . . and providing notice that any
action to set aside the Will or First Codicil . . . is to be
filed in the Court within three months from the date of the
first publication of the Revised Notice." The court
entered an order approving the revised notice of probate.
On December 19, 2016, Cindy filed a petition to set aside the
first codicil on the grounds Patricia was incompetent to
execute the codicil and Kelly had exerted undue influence
upon her. Kelly filed a motion to intervene to "answer,
move to dismiss and/or defend against" Cindy's
petition to set aside the codicil. Personal Representative
Robert also responded to Cindy's petition. He generally
agreed with Cindy's assertions that Patricia was not
competent to execute the codicil and that Kelly was the
"primary member of our family attending to"
Patricia's care at the time the codicil was signed. He
25. I understand that my duty as Personal Representative is
to administer the Estate according to Patricia Ann
Britain's instructions, the law, and the directives of
this Court. Uncertainty as to Patricia's instructions
exists by virtue of the Petition of Cindy Wheeler, questions
as to Patricia's competency to make a codicil in June
2013, and the Motion and proposed Answer of Kelly Britain.
Until the challenge to the First Codicil to Decedent's
Will is resolved, aspects of my administration cannot occur.
26. The Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act, W.S. §§
1-37-101 et seq., empowers the Court to determine the
validity of the First Codicil, subject to determinations of
factual issues as in other civil actions (W.S. §
27. The possibility of a declaratory action was contemplated
by Patricia Ann Britain, as expressed in Article Seventh of
her Last Will and Testament of June 3, 2011.
WHEREFORE, as Personal Representative, I ask
that the Court determine the validity of the First Codicil to
Decedent's Will, subject to determinations of factual
issues as in other civil actions, pursuant to the Uniform
Declaratory Judgments Act, and to grant the Estate such other
and further relief as is warranted under the circumstances.
The district court granted Kelly's motion to intervene,
and she filed a motion to dismiss Cindy's petition to set
aside the codicil. Kelly claimed that Cindy did not have
standing to challenge the codicil because she was not a
"person interested" under the will contest statute
- Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 2-6-301 (LexisNexis 2017). That
statute provides that "any person interested may, within
the time designated in the notice provided for in W.S.
2-6-122 or 2-7-201, contest the will or the validity of the
will." Section 2-6-301. (The definition of
"will" in Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 2-1-301(a)(xxxiv)
(LexisNexis 2017) "includes a codicil.") Kelly
claimed that Cindy was not interested because the codicil did
not change her share of Patricia's estate, i.e., she was
entitled to $5, 000 under the original will and the codicil
did not affect that devise. The district court agreed that
Cindy could not challenge the codicil and granted Kelly's
motion to dismiss Cindy's petition to set aside the
codicil. No party appealed the district court's order.
Kelly also filed a motion to dismiss Personal Representative
Robert's declaratory judgment claim. She argued, in part,
that a declaratory judgment action is not an appropriate
means of challenging the validity of the will codicil on the
grounds Patricia was incompetent or was subject to
Kelly's undue influence. The district court held a
hearing on Kelly's motion to dismiss and granted
Personal Representative Robert filed a notice of appeal.
Kelly claimed that Personal Representative Robert's
declaratory judgment claim should be dismissed under W.R.C.P.