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Trust Reformation, Mistake

Reformation is usually used in the context of a contract between two parties to correct a mistake and reform the contract to meet the parties’ intentions. It is, in other words, a court ordering a quasi re-writing, amendment and/or modification of a contract or written instrument. By way of example, reformation of a contract based […]

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No-Contest Clauses, Validity

No-contest clauses are frequently used in trusts and wills to prevent lawsuits challenging the validity of a will or trust. They typically provide that if someone challenges the document that the challenger is automatically disinherited. No-contest clauses are strictly enforced without regard to any exception based upon the good faith and/or probable cause of the […]

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Trust Protector: Powers, Duties, Limitations

An increasingly common technique used in trusts is to designate a trust protector. A trust protector is different than the settlor, trustee and beneficiary. Because the trust protector concept is relatively new, there has been uncertainty regarding the trust protector’s authority in trust administration, litigation and breach of trust suits. To address this uncertainty, Missouri […]

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Modification of Trust Because of Unanticipated Circumstances

Under Section 456.4-412, RSMo, the Court may modify an irrevocable trust if, because of circumstances not anticipated by the settlor/trust-maker, the modification or termination will further the purposes of the trust. This statute obviously adds great flexibility to the Court’s ability to change the terms of a trust. This was largely in response to situations […]

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Modifying Irrevocable Trusts by Consent

When Missouri updated its trust laws in around 2005, several statutes were added that permitted irrevocable trusts to be modified. An irrevocable trust, as the name suggests, is generally not subject to amendment or change. Most revocable trusts become irrevocable and not subject to change after the settlor/trust-maker dies. The problem is that many irrevocable […]

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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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Additions to Trust, Funding, Lapse

A trust is really only efficacious to the extent assets are titled and owned by the trust. To transfer assets to a trust, there must be a formal conveyance to the trust or trustee of the trust. Certain assets will have to be transferred and re-titled in different ways. With real estate, for instance, there […]

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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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Trust Assets in a Divorce

When dividing marital property in a divorce, the court is to consider the factors set forth in Section 452.330, RSMo and then divide the property in such a way that it seems just.¬†Workman v. Workman, 293 S.W.3d 89, 96 (Mo. Ct. App. 2009). A court generally has “great flexibility” in dividing the marital property.¬†Shepard v. […]

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Undue Influence Presumption, In-Home Health Care Provider

Undue influence is a legal claim which may be used to void and invalidate a will, trust or other legal document. It occurs when an influencer substitutes his or her will for that of the party executing the estate document. As of this writing, the jury instruction regarding undue is more severe and is phrased […]

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