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314.283.8930; henry@elsterlaw.com

Special Fiduciary, Trust Litigation, Breach of Trust

In breach of trust litigation, the plaintiff can request a variety of remedies against the trustee. The remedies include, among other things, damages, removal and/or suspension. In more contentious situations, a probate court does have the authority to appoint a “special fiduciary” to administer the trust, in whole or in part, while the suit is […]

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Will Contest, Multiple Wills, Res Judicata

If a will contest is successful, then the legal effect is that the will is invalid and void. Section 473.083.7 (A will contest determines “intestacy or testacy or which writing or writings constitute the decedent’s will.”). Accordingly, assuming there is no prior will, the Court finds that the person died intestate/without a will in the […]

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Joint Ownership, Probate, Non-Probate Transfer

Typically, only assets that a deceased individual solely owns without a beneficiary designation must pass through probate. Because of this, trusts are often implemented to circumvent probate. Other than trusts, co-ownership arrangements or non-probate transfers are frequently utilized to avoid probate. A non-probate transfer (e.g., transfer on death, payable on death) operates to where the […]

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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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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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Fraud Under the Probate Code

Fraud under the probate code is a legal claim in Missouri codified in Section 472.013 RSMo. It states as follows:  Whenever fraud has been perpetrated in connection with any proceeding or in any statement filed under this code, or if fraud is used to avoid or circumvent the provisions or purposes of this code,any person injured […]

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Equitable Retainer

Trust, estate and probate law has many interesting quirks. An example of this is the equitable retainer doctrine. In short, it is a legal concept which, in practice, reduces the amount of inheritance a heir may receive if the heir had a debt to the deceased. In other words, if you are to inherit money from […]

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“Interested Persons” Under Missouri Probate

In Missouri, Probate proceedings are typically handled under a separate set of rules than typical civil litigation cases. Most of the Missouri Supreme Court Rules do not apply in probate proceedings and practitioners will tell you that the policies in probate courts vary from county to county. Traditional probate proceedings in Missouri relate to guardianships, […]

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Discovery of Assets: Estate, Trusts, Conservatorship, Wills, Probate

In probate, title and ownership to assets can become blurred and sometimes completely unknown. Complicated titling schemes or transfers between conservatorships, trusts and other individuals are often the cause of the problem. For this reason, Missouri statutes set forth a procedure for “Discovery of Assets” to determine right, title, responsibility and ownership of property: Any […]

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