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Oral Partnership Agreements

It is important to get it in writing, especially when it comes to business ventures. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible for a business partnership to exist without a writing saying so. If a court determines that a partnership exists, then this means that the partners owe each other a host of fiduciary duties. […]

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Partnerships, Accountings

Partners owe each other a fiduciary with respect to the affairs of the partnership. Anchor Centre Partners v. Mercantile Bank, 803 S.W.2d 23 (Mo. 1991). As part of this fiduciary duty, each partner has a duty to “render on demand true and full information of all things affecting the partnership to any partner.” King v. Bullard, 257 […]

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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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Employee Duty of Loyalty

In Missouri — even without an employment contract, non-compete agreement, non-solicitation agreement or confidentiality agreement — an employee owes his/her employer a duty of loyalty. Western Blue Print Co., LLC v. Roberts, 367 S.W.3d 7, 15 (Mo. 2012). What this generally means is that an employee cannot work directly against his/her employer’s interests. At the same […]

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Majority Shareholder Fiduciary Duties

In Missouri, a common mis-perception is that only corporate officers and directors owe a fiduciary duty to the company and the company’s shareholders. There are, though, limitations on the rights of majority or dominant shareholders to act in their own self-interest. Specifically, shareholders in control — through majority ownership or otherwise — are under a […]

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Power of Attorney Self-Dealing, Gifts

An attorney-in-fact is someone appointed by a principal under a power of attorney to make decisions on behalf of the principal. The decisions usually relate to financial or healthcare matters for the principal. An attorney-in-fact is a fiduciary of the principal and must act in the principal’s best interests. This generally includes an obligation to […]

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Trust Opportunities, Trustee Breach of Loyalty

Corporate directors/officers and trustees are similar in that they are both fiduciaries and owe others (i.e., shareholders or beneficiaries, respectively) a duty of loyalty. As part of the duty of loyalty, the “corporate opportunity doctrine” forbids a corporate director from acquiring for his or her own benefit an opportunity that would have been valuable and […]

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Employer-Employee Fiduciary Duties, Non-Compete, Non-Solicitation

A fiduciary relationship exists or is established when one reposes trust and confidence in another in the handling of certain business affairs. Every employee owes his or her employer a duty of loyalty. Nat’l Rejectors, Inc. v. Trieman, 409 S.W.2d 1, 41 (Mo. 1966). This makes sense because the employer is paying the employee to carry […]

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Trusts: Trustee Duty to Report & Inform

As part of a trustee’s general fiduciary duty, a trustee must keep qualified beneficiaries reasonably informed about the status of the trust and of facts necessary for them to protect their interests. Section 456.8-813, RSMo. Because this is a fuzzy standard and is quite fact intensive, the Missouri Trust Code states that a trustee presumptively […]

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Trustee Fiduciary Duties: Prudence, Impartiality, Loyalty

A trustee — whether appointed privately or by a court — is a fiduciary of the highest order and is required to exercise a high standard of conduct and loyalty in administration of a trust. John r. Boyce Family Trust v. Snyder, 128 S.W.3d 630, 636 (Mo. Ct. App. 2004). Although the trustee has many duties […]

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