Income beneficiary petitioned to remove corporate trustee and appoint a successor corporate trustee. Trustee answered, asserting that plaintiff failed to join remainder beneficiaries as necessary and indispensable parties and that plaintiff could not virtually represent those beneficiaries, and moved to dismiss on same grounds. Plaintiff moved for summary judgment.
The Circuit Court, St. Louis County, Bernhardt C. Drumm, Jr., J., denied the motion to dismiss, granted plaintiff summary judgment, and ordered removal of trustee and appointed successor trustee. Trustee appealed.
The Court of Appeals, Sherri B. Sullivan, J. held that: (1) all of the qualified beneficiaries were before the court as required to bring removal action; (2) income beneficiary and remainder beneficiaries had substantially identical interests with regard to removal of trustee that permitted income beneficiary to virtually represent the other beneficiaries; and (3) change in trustee was in the best interests of the beneficiaries. Affirmed. All of the “qualified beneficiaries” of trust were before the court as required to bring action to remove corporate trustee and appoint a successor corporate trustee, even though there was a contingent remainder beneficiary who was not a party to the action, where father was income beneficiary of trust for life, son and daughter were remainder beneficiaries, college was a contingent remainder beneficiary entitled to trust assets after father’s death only if there were no living heirs of settlor/grandfather, and college would not have been a “permissible distributee” if father had died on the date the action was filed. V.A.M.S. §§ 456.7-706.2(4), 456.1-103(20).
Proposed change in corporate trustee was in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the trust, as required to effect such a change, where trust would have annual savings in trustee fees under the proposed successor of $10,259.55, and the terms of the trust did not prohibit such a change. V.A.M.S. § 456.7-706.2(4).