Legal Articles

Breach of Trust, Sole Discretion

Fiduciary and trust litigation can be very complex. In certain trust instruments, a trustee is granted “sole discretion” to do certain things. This language, however, can be very misleading. Even when a trustee is granted “sole discretion,” a trustee may be liable if the trustee willfully abuses his discretion, acts arbitrarily, fraudulently, dishonestly, or with…

Undue Influence

An undue influence claim is one of the two most common ways to legally attack a trust, will, or non-probate transfer. There is a “presumption” of undue influence if: (1) the influencer obtains a substantial benefit from the document, (2) the influencer was active in procuring the document, and (3) there was a confidential relationship…

Standing: Breach of Trust and Trustee Removal

Trust law distinguishes between “qualified beneficiaries” and “beneficiaries.” A “beneficiary” is a person that has a present or future beneficial interest in a trust or holds a power of appointment over trust property. Section 456.1-103(3), RSMo. A “qualified beneficiary” is different. It includes a beneficiary who is currently eligible to receive trust distributions, as well…

Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights

In Missouri, there are three main benefits a surviving spouse can receive in probate: (1) certain exempt property, (2) a one year support allowance, and (3) a homestead exemption. The surviving spouse automatically receives from the estate the family bible, one automobile, all clothing, electrical appliances, instruments, furniture, and utensils and implements. See Section 474.250,…

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