Summary Judgment on Undue Influence, Incapacity Cases

Summary judgment disposes of a claim without a trial in any number of circumstances. It is rare, however, for a claim involving incapacity or undue influence — particularly in the context of a will contest or trust contest — to be disposed of on summary judgment.

Summary judgment is rarely appropriate in cases involving proof of “elusive facts such as intent, motive, fraud, duress, undue influence, mental capacity and the like.” Crow v. Crawford & Co., 259 S.W.3d 104, 113 (Mo. Ct. App. 2008). For this reason, unless there is a complete absence of proof to support a timely filed claim of incapacity or undue influence, such claims are typically resolved through a settlement or trial.

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