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Trusts, Principal Place of Administration

Trust litigation can often involve interstate disputes as to what state and county should hear and entertain the litigation. This is because trusts will often involve family members, trustees and beneficiaries who reside in different states. Many states have adopted the Uniform Trust Code as a means of providing more consistent laws on how trusts […]

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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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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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Active Procurement: Undue Influence in Estate Litigation, Challenges

Undue influence is a common legal claim used in probate litigation to set aside, void or challenge a will, trust, deed or non-probate transfer. It is when the influencer substitutes his or her will for the person who is signing the document. Because this is a vague claim, Missouri cases have set forth three elements […]

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Estate Litigation; Time Limit to Appoint Personal Representative/Executor

Missouri’s probate code has two principal goals: (1) provide a speedy method for administering a decedent’s estate and (2) establish a time after which claims are forever barred against an estate. North v. Hawkinson, 324 S.W.2d 733, 736 (Mo. 1959). In furtherance of these objectives, Missouri rigidly applies a general one (1) year limitation period for […]

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Trust Fraud Challenge

Lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence are the two most common bases for challenging the validity of a revocable living trust. Though rare, however, it is possible to challenge a trust based on fraud. A trust is void to the extents its creation was induced by fraud, duress or undue influence. Section 456.4-406 RSMo. […]

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Challenging Revocable Living Trusts

The time limitation for challenging a revocable living trust is generally two (2) years after the settlor’s (i.e., trust creator) death. This two year period can be shortened in at least a couple of different circumstances, such as if the successor trustee sends a notice to all beneficiaries accelerating the time period to six (6) […]

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Discovery of Assets Probate Claims, Estate Litigation

A “discovery of assets” claim is a probate claim in Missouri in which an interested party in an estate may seek to re-title property wrongfully taken from an estate back into the estate’s name. For instance, if you believe that someone wrongfully took cash, personal property or real property from an estate in which you […]

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The Attorney-Client Privilege in Estate, Trust and Will Litigation

Evidence is important in all litigation, but it is especially important in estate litigation because it can be hard to acquire. In cases involving claims that an estate document is invalid because of fraud, duress, lack of capacity or undue influence, there is rarely direct evidence; thus, the plaintiff must often rely on circumstantial, indirect evidence.  […]

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Trustee Removal Lawsuits, Litigation

If you are unhappy with a trustee, can you remove the trustee? The answer to that question is “yes,” but there needs to be a specific legal basis for it. You will not prevail on a trustee removal case in court simply because you do not like the trustee(s).  Section 456.7-706, RSMo governs trustee removal in […]

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