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Category: Probate Estate Litigation & Administration

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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Undue Influence Presumption, In-Home Health Care Provider

Undue influence is a legal claim which may be used to void and invalidate a will, trust or other legal document. It occurs when an influencer substitutes his or her will for that of the party executing the estate document. As of this writing, the jury instruction regarding undue is more severe and is phrased […]

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Duress: Trusts & Contracts

Wills, trusts, contracts, deeds and other legal documents may be voided if they were executed under duress. As an initial matter, a duress claim is distinct from a claim to set aside a document based on undue influence, lack of capacity or fraud.  To make a successful claim for duress, the plaintiff must prove that […]

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Voting Trusts, Corporations

A “voting trust” is an agreement where one or more shareholders appoints a trustee to vote on behalf of the shareholders at a corporate meeting. It is in effect a more nuanced proxy arrangements (a proxy is usually legally authorized to vote on another person’s behalf). The principle difference is that a voting trust document […]

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