Missouri Elder Law

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(417) 890-2667

PROBATE AND TRUST LITIGATION

All too often, clients have gone through life with the understanding that they were included in a will only to find out that *surprise* it was changed at the last moment to eliminate their share. Sometimes entire families are eliminated.  Of course this is a situation where you want to pick up the phone and call a qualified legal professional to investigate the matter.  Common examples of issues found when contesting a will are:

  • Lack of Capacity - changes were made to the instrument while the person lacked capacity to do so or to understand the ramifications of the changes.  Often you will see these changes have happened after a dementia or Alzheimers diagnosis.
  • Undue Influence - changes were made in accordance with influence by someone close who is exploiting a persons vulnerability for gain.  These people often include caregivers, advisers and family members.
  • Fraud - someone has lied or misled a person with the net result being a change to the will
  • Formalities - There are specific requirements for a will to be valid, and they vary wildly from state to state.  If all of the proper requirements have not been met the will may fail.

 
The flip side of this: you are in the process of administering an estate and someone challenges the will.  You will quickly need to contact us to begin forming a defense strategy.

 

OUR SERVICE TO YOU

  • Aggressively litigate
  • Resolve litigation when possible and explore alternative dispute resolution where appropriate
  • Not afraid to think outside the box to gain advantage

EXAMPLE FROM THE FILE CABINET

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Barry dies with a substantial fortune, and suffered from Altzheimer's Disease in his later years.  Barry's only blood relative upon his death is his daughter Daisy.  Daisy fully expects that Barry's fortune will pass to her and has a copy of a Will they reviewed together.  Daisy works full time in another state and did not get to visit Barry as much as she wanted towards the end.

Daisy is surprised to learn that one of Barry's caretakers, Ben, has emerged with a more recent will that completely eliminates Daisy's share and instead gives it to Ben.  Daisy contacts the Missouri Elder Law Firm to help her fix the situation.

We are able to show that Barry lacked the capacity to sign the more recent will and that he was also exposed to undue influence from Ben when signing the new will.

End result: Daisy receives Barry's estate under the will she has a copy of, which is determined to be the last valid will.