101 South Hanley, Suite 1280 Clayton, MO 63105
314.283.8930; henry@elsterlaw.com

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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Escheat: When Property/Estate without Heirs goes to the State

What happens when someone passes away and there is nobody alive who can legally inherit? Does the property just sit without an owner for eternity? Does it go to auction? Under traditional Common Law, the property¬†escheats — that is, it reverts to ownership by the State/Government. This principle is codified in Missouri in statutory Chapter […]

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Wills Do Not Avoid Probate

One of the more common misconceptions people have regarding the probate process is that if you have a will probate is unnecessary; somehow, per this common belief, the surviving heirs will locate the will and be obligated to follow the directives articulated therein without court intervention. Nothing could be further than the truth. Missouri Revised […]

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Wills in a Safe Deposit Box

It is often the case that individuals will spends loads of time, money, and effort pouring over the details of their estate documents and then place them (often at the instruction of their attorney) in a safe deposit box at a bank. Cautious individuals will even go so far as to inform their heirs/children that […]

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Missouri Liability for Breach of Trust

Trusts — testamentary, revocable, and irrevocable — all impose fiduciary duties upon a trustee (See: Fiduciary Duties of a Trustee). Whenever a trustee breach his/her fiduciary duty (self-dealing, improper investment, fraud, etc), the beneficiary of the trust has a few separate options. (1) The beneficiary can ratify (i.e., consent) to the transaction, thereby waiving the […]

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Testamentary Trust for Children

Because of the cost and sometimes complicated nature of a revocable living trust, some clients find it preferable to create a testamentary trust, particularly if he or she has minor children. A testamentary trust is a trust created under a will. As such, because wills generally go to probate, the will would need to be […]

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Trust Principal & Income

In administering a trust, a trustee will have the responsibility of appropriately allocating receipts and disbursements between principal and income. First and foremost, the trust itself will provide guidance as to how (if at all) to classify the assets. But what happens if the trust is silent on this point? Enter Missouri’s Principal and Income […]

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Asset Protection Trusts: Estate Planning & Creditors

Asset protection is a crucial component of estate planning. Most assume that asset protection is for the extremely wealth. However, most individuals and families can benefit from some form of asset protection planning. It is just the case that more at risk individuals will likely need more sophisticated plans. The Missouri Uniform Trust Code was […]

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Trust Administration & Help

It is often the case that revocable living trusts and irrevocable¬† trusts (particularly when they are of great cash value) are managed by trust companies or corporate entities. However, it is sometimes the case that a private individual or individuals will serve as trustee. On the one hand, this can be a preferable arrangement because […]

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Pour-over Will

What’s a “pour-over” Will? It’s a question I’m asked every so often when explaining an estate plan. The short answer answer is that when a Will has a “pour-over” provision it is designed to act as a safety net for a trust. I’ll elaborate. Pour-over wills are a necessary instrument in a trust-centered estate plan. […]

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