- Associated Press - Saturday, May 16, 2015

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - A Ladue woman has won the latest legal battle over her late husband’s multimillion-dollar estate.

St. Louis County Judge Carolyn Whittington ruled Thursday that three of the four amendments made to the trust - all favoring Christine Murray-Kaplan - were valid. That means Murray-Kaplan will receive most of the $50 million estate of her late husband Robert Kaplan, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1cDHlEC ) reported.

“This is a big win,” said Robert Blitz, a lawyer representing Murray-Kaplan, who was Robert Kaplan’s second wife.

Kaplan’s adult children portrayed Murray-Kaplan as a woman who schemed to amend his trust to her benefit.

“Despite his illness and declining health, the evidence does not clearly and convincingly establish that Robert Kaplan was susceptible to undue influence during the negotiation of the 12th, 13th, and 14th amendments of his trust, and it does not clearly and convincingly establish that those amendments are the product of Murray-Kaplan substituting her will for the free will of Robert’s,” Whittington wrote.

A jury in March made a separate decision involving Kaplan’s company - this one favoring his children. Whittington upheld that ruling, which reversed a stock transfer from Kaplan’s real estate company to his widow’s control.

Murray-Kaplan argued during trial that her late husband’s children weren’t attentive to their father in the last years of his life. She said that he alone made decisions about his assets.

The children - Michael Kaplan, Julie Salomon and Elizabeth Wright - were represented by former U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway, who is running for the Republican nomination for Missouri governor. Hanaway described the judge’s order as a “partial win” for her clients because it invalidated one of the four amendments.

Hanaway said the adult children don’t stand to receive anything “in the short term,” other than about $5 million that could go to the children or grandchildren.


Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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