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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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Duress: Trusts & Contracts

Wills, trusts, contracts, deeds and other legal documents may be voided if they were executed under duress. As an initial matter, a duress claim is distinct from a claim to set aside a document based on undue influence, lack of capacity or fraud.  To make a successful claim for duress, the plaintiff must prove that […]

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Active Procurement: Undue Influence in Estate Litigation, Challenges

Undue influence is a common legal claim used in probate litigation to set aside, void or challenge a will, trust, deed or non-probate transfer. It is when the influencer substitutes his or her will for the person who is signing the document. Because this is a vague claim, Missouri cases have set forth three elements […]

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Trust Fraud Challenge

Lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence are the two most common bases for challenging the validity of a revocable living trust. Though rare, however, it is possible to challenge a trust based on fraud. A trust is void to the extents its creation was induced by fraud, duress or undue influence. Section 456.4-406 RSMo. […]

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Undue Influence in Wills, Trusts, Deeds, Nonprobate Transfers: Factors

Wills, trusts, deeds, and nonprobate transfers (e.g., beneficiary designations, transfer on death or payable on death arrangements) are sometimes challenged on the basis of undue influence. Undue influence is when one individual induces another by “active conduct” to provide a substantial benefit through the transfer of property. Undue influence cases are evaluated on a case-by-case […]

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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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Confidential/Fiduciary Relationship in an Undue Influence Claim

Undue influence is “influence which by force, coercion, or over-persuasion destroys the free agency of the [individual signing a document].” Tobias v. Korman, 141 S.W.3d 468, 475 (Mo. Ct. App. 2004). If undue influence existed, then the underlying document is void. Undue influence generally is litigated in cases involving the validity of wills, trusts or other […]

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The Attorney-Client Privilege in Estate, Trust and Will Litigation

Evidence is important in all litigation, but it is especially important in estate litigation because it can be hard to acquire. In cases involving claims that an estate document is invalid because of fraud, duress, lack of capacity or undue influence, there is rarely direct evidence; thus, the plaintiff must often rely on circumstantial, indirect evidence.  […]

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Will Contests: Timely Service of Parties

A will or trust is void if the person making it lacked sound mind at the time of execution. Watson v. Watson, 562. S.W.2d 329, 331 (Mo. 1978). To prevail on a challenge, there must be evidence tending to prove that testamentary capacity was not present at the time of execution. Armbruster v. Sutton, 244 S.W.2d 65, […]

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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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