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Legal Articles

Trust Law versus Corporate Law, Controlling Duties

When a trust owns corporate shares, do corporate fiduciary obligations or trustee obligations prevail? The answer is that generally a trustee’s obligations take priority. Upon incorporation of trust assets, the corporation becomes the alter ego of the trustees and the trustee’s acts are determined in the light of the trust. Weldon Revocable Trust v. Weldon, 231 S.W.3d 158, 171 […]

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Trusts: Beneficiary, Qualified Beneficiary, Interested Person

In trust litigation, particularly breach of trust litigation, your legal relation to the trust is extremely important in determining what claims you can make. Missouri trust law distinguishes between a “qualified beneficiary,” “beneficiary” and “interested person.” By way of example, a qualified beneficiary is typically either someone who is eligible to receive mandatory or discretionary […]

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Third-Party Standing in Litigation

Analogous to permissive intervention and intervention as of right, third-party standing relates to when someone other than an existing party to a lawsuit has the ability to make a claim or objection in a lawsuit. To have third-party standing, a litigant must show: (1) a concrete injury, (2) a close relation to the third-party and […]

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Trial Continuances

To obtain a continuance and/or delay of a trial setting in Missouri, a party needs to comply with Rule 65.03. This requires, among other things, that the request be accompanied by the affidavit of the movant or some other credible person setting forth the facts upon which the request for continuance is based. The grant […]

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Original Wills, Duplicate Wills

When requesting that a last will and testament be probated, the original will must be presented to the Court. The reason for this is that under Missouri law “a will is presumed destroyed by the testator [i.e., will-maker] with intent to revoke if the will was last seen in possession of the testator prior to […]

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Breach of Contract Damages: Future Lost Profits

A plaintiff needs to show damages to prevail on a breach of contract claim. In many contracts, and often in business contracts, future lost profits will wholly or partially form the basis of a damages request. To obtain lost profits, a plaintiff needs to prove the facts of damages with reasonable certainty and provide an […]

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Ghost Tortfeasor/Non-Party Liability, Negligence

A negligence case generally requires that a plaintiff prove a (1) legal duty on the part of the defendant to conform to a certain standard of conduct, (2) a breach of the duty, (3) proximate cause between the conduct and the resulting injury and (4) damages. Hoover’s Dairy, Inc. v. Mid-America Dairymen, 700 S.W.2d 426, 431 (Mo. 1985). A defendant […]

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Will Contests: Grounds, Necessary Parties

A last will and testament may be contested on numerous grounds, the most common of which include challenges for lack of capacity, fraud, duress, and/or undue influence. There are strict, specific deadlines for challenging a will. While the deadline varies, a will contest is usually pursued after a will is admitted to probate. An order […]

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Declaratory Judgment to Challenge Revocable Living Trusts

The use of revocable living trusts in estate planning is extremely common. Along with the rise of their use, challenges to the validity of revocable living trusts have also risen. Trusts may be contested on a number of grounds, the most common of which are lack of capacity, undue influence, fraud or duress. These claims […]

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Offensive Collateral Estoppel

Collateral estoppel prevents the relitigation of any issues necessarily and unambiguously determined in a prior litigation from being relitigated again in a subsequent litigation. It can be used either defensively or offensively. When a defendant attempts to use collateral estoppel, he or she is saying that the plaintiff is precluded from arguing some claim because […]

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