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

Trustee Vacancies

A vacancy in trusteeship occurs when a trustee declines the trusteeship, the trustee cannot be located, resigns, dies, is disqualified/removed, or is found to be legally incapacitated. Under Missouri law, when there is a vacancy in a trusteeship it must be filled in the following order of priority:  (1) By a person designated in or […]

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Undue Influence & Fraud Presumptions in Estate Litigation

Undue influence is a legal concept that occurs when a third-party coerces and improperly influences another person to sign a document or make a property conveyance. It exists when the influencer destroys the will of the signer to where the influencer’s will is substituted for the signer’s will. Because in such cases the wishes expressed in the […]

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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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Trusts: Nonjudicial Settlement Agreements

One of the main goals of a trust is to privately administer an individual’s or family’s affairs. When disputes arise relating to the propriety of a trust’s administration, or even assertions of breach of trust against the trustee, the matter can quickly become public in courts. As a way to avoid this publicity, Missouri law […]

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Mental/Testamentary Capacity: Contracts, Wills, Trusts

Mental capacity generally refers to a signatory’s state of mind when he/she signs a document. To be valid, the signatory’s mental capacity must be clear, lucid and free from any undue influence or restraint. It is not uncommon for documents to be challenged for lack of capacity. Depending on the document, the legal standards governing […]

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Trusts & the Unauthorized Practice of Law

Recently, the Missouri Court of Appeals in the Eastern District addressed a question that has persisted with trust litigation practitioners in Missouri. Is a non-attorney trustee authorized to represent a trust in litigation? Would that be considered the unauthorized practice of law? It appears that the answer is “yes.” Missouri limits the practice of law […]

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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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Revocation or Amendment of a Revocable Trust

Missouri trusts are presumptively revocable. Therefore, they are freely amendable and capable of being cancelled by the settlor/grantor, unless the trust itself states that it is irrevocable. To amend a trust, the general rule of thumb is that one must follow the method of amendment/revocation provided for in the terms of the trust — or […]

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St. Louis Trust Attorney

The most common way a trust is set up is that it is established for the settlor’s benefit during his/her lifetime and then upon his/her death it is distributed free of trust to the descendants. A trust can house most types of property, including real estate, stocks, security instruments, and even interests in businesses (e.g., […]

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Spendthrift Clauses: Trusts & Debts

One of the big misconceptions with a trust is that when property and assets are placed in a trust they are beyond the reach of creditors. This is not always the case. Generally, a judgment creditor of a beneficiary may, without court order, reach a beneficiary’s interest by attachment of present or future distributions to […]

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