Legal Articles

Trust Language: “Necessary or Advisable” Distributions

The language of a trust is extremely important. And when a will, trust, and other estate documents form part of the same plan, they are interpreted together. Indeed, “[w]hen a trust and will form parts of the same plan, they must be construed together.” Shriners Hospital for Children v. Schaper, 215 S.W.3d 185, 189-90 (Mo….

Gratuitous Services & Family Relationship Defense

A “family relationship” is an affirmative defense to certain claims. It is rare. It can arise as a defense to claims of unjust enrichment, quantum meruit, or adverse possession. The defense is that services were rendered out of love and affection and that one was not necessarily trying to seek money. “The existence of a…

Guardianship and Conservatorship: Reasonable Choice?

When picking a guardian or conservator, the Court must appoint the must “suitable” person. The Court must also follow a hierarchy in making its choice. At the top of this list, the Court must consider “any eligible person nominated” by the allegedly incapacitated person, provided the person can “make and communicate a reasonable choice.” Section…

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…

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