Stabler v. Stabler, 326 S.W.3d 561 (Mo. App. E.D. 2010)

Factual Background:

In 1992, Decedent established a Trust to provide for his health, maintenance, comfort, and support.  Decedent’s Children are trustees of this Trust.  Decedent married Second Wife in 1998, with whom he entered into an antenuptial agreement before the marriage.  In 2004, the probate court established a conservatorship estate for Decedent because he was adjudged fully incapacitated and disabled.  A third party was appointed guardian and conservator.  After Decedent’s death, Children were appointed personal representatives of his estate.

Second Wife filed a three-count petition against Children in their capacities as trustees of the Trust and as personal representatives of the estate.  In the petition, Second Wife claimed that during Decedent’s life she was a beneficiary of the Trust and of two life insurance policies, one of which was owned by the Trust and the other by the estate.  She did not attach a copy of the Trust to the petition.  In Count I, she sought an accounting of Trust property from Children as trustees.  In Count II, she alleged that Children, as trustees, engaged in self-dealing and mismanagement of the Trust property by conserving the Trust assets instead of using them to provide for Decedent’s health, maintenance, comfort, and support and thereby caused the conservatorship’s assets to deplete in order to provide for Decedent.  Second Wife contended that the principal asset of the conservatorship was a life insurance policy, of which she was the beneficiary.  In Count III, she claimed that Children, as personal representatives and trustees, were unjustly enriched because they ultimately benefited from the Trust assets that should have been expended.