101 South Hanley, Suite 1280 Clayton, MO 63105
314.283.8930

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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Spousal Abandonment, Probate Inheritance

Sometimes very unexpected developments can occur in probate litigation. This is largely because there are very unique probate laws in Missouri. For example, a spouse who “abandons” a deceased spouse waives any inheritance interest he or she may have in the deceased spouse’s estate. Specifically, Section 474.140, RSMo provides that:    If any married person […]

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Incapacity in Litigation, Mental Examination

When a party is adjudged legally incapacitated, a guardian or conservator typically represents the incapacitated individual’s interests in legal disputes. In certain circumstances, however, a party is for all intents and purposes incapacitated but a guardianship proceeding has never been commenced and there has not been a judgment of incapacity. And because individuals are generally presumed to […]

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Estate Litigation re: Analyzing Transfers in Fraud of Marital Rights

Normally, and subject to the existence of any estate planning documents, a surviving spouse is entitled to a significant portion of a deceased spouse’s estate. The amount which the surviving spouse receives from a default intestate distribution (i.e., one when there is no will or estate plan in place) will largely depend on if there […]

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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: Property Wrongfully Withheld from an Estate

“Discovery of assets” is a confusing name, but it is an extremely important concept in trust, will and estate law in Missouri. It is authorized by Section 473.340, RSMo, and provides that “[a]ny personal representative, administrator, creditor, beneficiary or other person who claims an interest in property which is claimed to be an asset of an […]

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Probate, Will, Trust & Estate Representation & Litigation

We handle a wide variety of cases relating to probate, wills, trusts, and estates. These cases range from planning “simple” estates to complex will and trust litigation pertaining to multi-million dollar estates. We handle estate administrations, small estate affidavits, refusal of letters, guardianship, conservatorship, and discovery of assets claims. For wills, we represent personal representatives, […]

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Nonprobate Transfers, Creditors, Probate

In light of the time, expense and general unpopularity of the probate process, nonprobate transfers are often implemented to circumvent  “traditional” estate administration (e.g., small estate affidavits, Letters Testamentary, Letters of Administration). A “nonprobate transfer” is when a transfer of property takes effect upon the death of the owner pursuant to a beneficiary designation. Section 461.005(7), […]

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Transfers in Fraud of Marital Rights

Estate administration laws have several different pitfalls which can vastly change a probate estate. One of the more interesting scenarios that can occur is when a surviving spouse of a decedent attempts to nullify a conveyance for being “in fraud of marital rights.” The right to attack a conveyance in fraud of marital rights was developed […]

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Creditor Claims against an Estate: Time for Claims & Notice

The probate process is designed not only to transfer property to heirs, but also to address the last debts and expenses of the decedent. How long does a creditor have to bring a claim against a probate estate? Section 473.360 provides the time limitations for bringing a claim against an estate, stating in pertinent part […]

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