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On February 16, 2011, Matthew Rossiter moderated the Sixth Annual Fiduciary Litigation Seminar, and also presented the Annual Update on the Law. Over 100 attorneys were in attendance.

On November 3, 2010, Jamie Boock successfully obtained a verdict after a jury trial against the City of St. Louis for failing to timely repair a dangerous condition on a City of St. Louis road which resulted in a one-car accident. Defendants made no offer to settle before trial.

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Trust Law

Below are brief summaries of important Missouri appellate cases affecting the rights and duties of trust beneficiaries and trustees, and other aspects of trust law. Please click on the link below each summary to learn more about that case.

Banks v. Central Trust & Investment Co., 2012 WL 925120 (Mo. App. E.D.)

Where a trust amendment is not properly delivered according to the terms of the trust, it is not a valid amendment.  Learn More>>

Voyles v. Voyles, 2012 WL 925111 (Mo. App. E.D.)

If a plaintiff dismisses his petition without prejudice prior to the execution of formal settlement documents dividing up a contested trust, this does not render the original settlement agreement unenforceable and the trial court can review the evidence in the record to supply any missing provisions.   Learn More>>

Gunther v. Gunther, 350 S.W.3d 44 (Mo. App. E.D. 2011)

While a trust is revocable, all rights the beneficiaries would otherwise possess are subject to the settlor’s control, and the trustee owes duties exclusively to the settler. Learn More >>

In re William R. Knichel, 347 S.W.3d 127 (Mo. App. E.D. 2011)

The right of a former special co-trustee to collect fees is not a beneficial interest, and the potential harm to personal accreditation and reputation following removal as special co-trustee for breach of fiduciary duty is not a pecuniary interest. Therefore, the former special co-trustee was not an aggrieved party and could not appeal his removal as special co-trustee. Learn More >>

Michelson v. Michelson, 341 S.W.3d 811 (Mo. App. E.D. 2011)

While a court can enter a decree of dissolution distributing property, it does not have authority in a divorce proceeding to enter a decree dividing trust accounts where the children, and not the husband or the wife, were the sole beneficiaries. Learn More >>

In re Gene Wild Insurance Trust U.S. Bank, 340 S.W.3d 139 (Mo. App. S.D. 2011)

Where the language in a trust is clear and unambiguous as to the grantor’s intent, the court must give effect to that intent. Learn More >>

Bruce G. Robert QTip Marital Trust v. Grasso, 332 S.W.3d 248 (Mo. App. E.D. 2010)

Where a grantor’s overall or primary intent is to treat the beneficiaries equally, a trust provision mandating equal distribution of assets supersedes a separate spendthrift provision and terms of separate subsequent promissory notes. Learn More >>

Goulding v. Bank of America, et al., 340 S.W.3d 114 (Mo. App. W.D. 2010)

Distribution of a trust not to a specifically named beneficiary cannot be treated as increasing a specifically named beneficiary’s former share of that trust. Learn More >>

Nichols, et al. v. Donaldson, 322 S.W.3d 155 (Mo. App. E.D. 2010)

The appropriate payment for trust real estate property is determined by the net income of that real estate property. Net income for trust real estate property is gross income less operating expenses. Learn More >>

Ralls County Mutual Insurance Company v. RCS Bank, 314 S.W.3d 792 (Mo. App. E.D. 2010)

Without the establishment through clear, cogent, and convincing evidence of any identifiable property or funds as the res, the court will not impose a constructive trust. Learn More >>

Morton v. Morton, et al., 308 S.W.3d 287 (Mo. App. S.D. 2010)

Decedent’s transfer of half of a joint trust shared with his wife without her knowledge or consent wrongfully deprived her of her right, title, and interest in property and amounted to fraud of her marital rights. Learn More >>

Schumacher v. Schumacher, 303 S.W.3d 170 (Mo. App. W.D. 2010)

The court may address the issue of violation of fiduciary duties despite lying outside the scope of pleadings when parties are aware that Missouri law will be used. In a motion for summary judgment, the claimant must also establish that affirmative defenses fail as a matter of law. Learn More >>

Klinkerfuss v. Cronin, 289 S.W.3d 607 (Mo. App. E.D. 2009)

Where a beneficiary brings an action against a trustee of a trust that the court determines is vexatious and without merit, the court is within its discretion to award the trustee’s costs in defending the lawsuit solely against that beneficiary’s share. Learn More >> 

Wilson v. Rhodes, 258 S.W.3d 873 (Mo. App. S.D. 2008)

A trust spendthrift clause only prevents the alienation of trust property a beneficiary is entitled to receive in the future, not property that the beneficiary has a vested right to receive.  Learn More >>

Brams Trust #2 v. Haydon, 266 S.W.3d 207 (Mo. App. W.D. 2008)

A party holding a power of appointment may represent all trust beneficiaries whose interests could be extinguished unless the person being represented objects. Also, in order to terminate a trust, the trustee must show that the unascertained and unborn beneficiaries will benefit from termination.  Learn More >>

Betty G. Weldon Revocable Trust v. Weldon et al., 231 S.W.3d 158, (Mo. App. Ct. W.D. 2007)

Remainder beneficiaries are “qualified beneficiaries” and have standing to bring suit regarding trust management. In addition, a trial court has inherent authority to remove and replace trustees on its own initiative when it finds a serious breach of trust has occurred.  Learn More >>

Davis v. U.S. Bank Nat. Ass'n, 243 S.W.3d 425 (Mo. App. E.D., 2007)

Where an income beneficiary brings suit against a trustee and has a substantially identical interest as the remainder beneficiaries, the income beneficiary may virtually represent them in an action to remove trustee.  Learn More >> 

Kimberlin, et al. v. Dull, 218 S.W. 3d 613 (Mo. App. W.D. 2007)

Where a trust settlor retains the power to revoke a trust, he also retains the power to amend it.  Learn More >>

Saigh v. Saigh, et al., 218 S.W.3d 556 (Mo. App. E.D. 2007)

A trustee is not liable for a breach of trust committed by a co-trustee, unless the trustee approves or acquiesces in a breach of trust committed by his co-trustee or negligently administers the trust in a manner that enables the co-trustee to commit a breach of trust.  Learn More >>

Shriner’s Hospital for Children, et al. v. Schaper, 215 S.W.3d 185 (Mo. App. E.D. 2006)

Where the settlor expresses a clear intention to keep specific bequests intact and separate from the residuary estate, it is appropriate for the successor trustee to pay all taxes out of the trust residuary.  Learn More >>

Molasky v. Molasky, 165 S.W.3d 210 (Mo. App. E.D. 2005).

The right to receive proceeds of a life insurance policy is a sufficient corpus to create a trust, and the trust need not have a corpus at the exact time it is created.  Learn More >>