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Author: ElsterLawOffice -- Saint Louis Missouri

Modification of Trust Because of Unanticipated Circumstances

Under Section 456.4-412, RSMo, the Court may modify an irrevocable trust if, because of circumstances not anticipated by the settlor/trust-maker, the modification or termination will further the purposes of the trust. This statute obviously adds great flexibility to the Court’s ability to change the terms of a trust. This was largely in response to situations […]

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Not Supported by Substantial Evidence, Against the Weight of the Evidence

When appealing a trial decided by a judge (as opposed to a jury), an appeals court will usually only reverse the trial judge’s judgement if there is no substantial evidence to support it, it is against the weight of the evidence, or it erroneously declares or applies the law. Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30, […]

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Contract Writings: Statute of Frauds Waiver

The Statute of Frauds requires that certain contracts be in writing to be enforceable or entertained. Generally, the Statute of Frauds in Missouri applies to (1) agreements not to be performed within a year, (2) contracts involving land, and (3) marriage. Section 432.010, RSMo. There are a few ways to circumvent the writing requirement, such […]

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Implied License, Copyright

Often a point of contention in intellectual property disputes, particularly disputes and litigation relating to copyrights, is whether an implied license is a viable defense to a claim that you are impropery utilizing someone else’s property (e.g., copyright infringement). A license, very generally, is permission to use or own something. In the context of copyrights, […]

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Riparian Rights

Riparian rights refers to a landowner’s rights to water on or adjacent to his or her property. When one is a riparian owner, one has certain rights, including the right to swim, boat and fish in and on the waters, to take water for domestic use only, to skate and ride on ice, and to […]

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Trust Litigation: Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Breach of Trust

Trustees are fiduciaries who must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. To win on a claim of breach of fiduciary duty or trust, a plaintiff needs to prove that there is a (1) fiduciary duty, (2) a breach of that duty, (3) causation and (4) harm/damages. Matter of Wilma G. James Trust, 487 […]

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Disqualification of Counsel, Attorney; Conflict of Interest

Attorneys have a duty of loyalty to their clients and must work in the client’s best interests. For this reason, it is obvious that an attorney cannot simultaneously represent both a plaintiff and a defendant in the same lawsuit. Things become much more murky when a lawyer represents a client in one matter and then […]

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Defamation: Privilege Defenses

Defamation consists of (1) publication of a (2) defamatory statement that (3) identifies the plaintiff, (4) is false, (5) that is published with the requisite degree of fault and (6) damages to the plaintiff’s reputation. Nazeri v. Missouri Valley College, 860 S.W.2d 303 (Mo. 1993). There are, among others, two prominent defenses that a defense […]

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Closing Arguments

Closing arguments in a jury trial is often the best time an attorney can persuade the jury. The evidence has been heard and there is an opportunity for an attorney, unlike when examining a witness on direct or cross-examination, to directly tell the jury (or judge) why the evidence justifies a decision in one party’s […]

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Option Rights and Preemptive Rights in Contracts

Contracts can have option rights or preemptive rights. An option, in the context of real estate, usually gives a person a power to compel the owner of the property to sell it at a stipulated price whether or not he or she is willing to part with ownership. Anderson v. Parker, 351 S.W.3d 82, 831 […]

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