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Category: Probate Estate Litigation & Administration

Trusts and Supervised Administration

A primary selling point for trusts is that they are generally administered independently and outside of the court. Rather than rely on court orders and instructions, the trustee distributes the property per the directives articulated in the trust instrument. While this may be a benefit in many circumstances, sometimes it is more beneficial to have […]

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Probate Courts, Equitable Authority

Tradtionally, probate courts have had limited authority to hear and entertain only probate matters. Probate matters include but are not limited to: trust disputes, decedent estate administration, guardianships-conservatorships and power of attorney disputes. Despite probate courts having limited authority to hear certain types of matters, the probate court in Missouri has the same legal and […]

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Offsets, Equity, Damages

“Off-setting” judgements is well established in Missouri. It generally arises when there are competing claims made by different parties against each other in a lawsuit. For example, if party A wins on a $50k claim against party B, and party B wins on a counterclaim of $60k against party A, a court may enter an […]

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Link Hearing, Guardianships-Conservatorships

Guardianship-conservatorship proceedings are subject to their own procedural and substantive rules. The general gist of the proceeding is that a petitioning party alleges that someone else is incapacitated and that the petitioner (or someone else) should be appointed as a guardian to protect the incapacitated person’s person and a conservator should be appointed to protect […]

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Trust Termination, Trustee Final Accounting

Unless there are specific terms in a trust document providing otherwise, a trust terminates and ends generally when the “trustee gives a final accounting and conveys the trust property to the beneficiaries.” Shannon v. Johnson, 741 S.W.2d 791, 794 (Mo. Ct. App. 1987). A trust’s termination date is important for numerous reasons, not the least of […]

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No Contest, Forfeiture, In Terrorem Clauses: Wills & Trusts

To combat disputes and litigation about wills and trusts, estate planning attorneys sometimes advise clients to include a no contest, forfeiture or “in terrorem” clause in a will, trust or estate document. These clauses generally provide that if an heir or other party files a suit relating to the document he or she is disinherited. […]

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Trustee Vacancies

A vacancy in trusteeship occurs when a trustee declines the trusteeship, the trustee cannot be located, resigns, dies, is disqualified/removed, or is found to be legally incapacitated. Under Missouri law, when there is a vacancy in a trusteeship it must be filled in the following order of priority:  (1) By a person designated in or […]

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Trust Assets in a Divorce

When dividing marital property in a divorce, the court is to consider the factors set forth in Section 452.330, RSMo and then divide the property in such a way that it seems just. Workman v. Workman, 293 S.W.3d 89, 96 (Mo. Ct. App. 2009). A court generally has “great flexibility” in dividing the marital property. Shepard v. […]

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Time Limit and Deadline to Challenge Will

A last will and testament in Missouri (and other states) may be challenged and voided. The most common grounds for a contest are lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, fraud and/or duress.  One of the goals in the estate administration process in Missouri is to have a quick, efficient manner of winding down one’s affairs. […]

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