Missouri Trustee Removal

Mssrs. Selsor and Gust of Polsinelli’s St. Louis office offer this insightful article in the Missouri Bar Journal. Missouri trust law follows the Uniform Trust Code (V.A.M.S. 456.001 et seq.), having adopted the UTC in 2005 (followed Kansas’ pioneering 2003 adoption – K.S.A. 58a-101 et seq.). Missouri trust law is often utilized by Kansas City area residents as Missouri allows dynasty trusts (trusts that last perpetually, often for many generations or centuries – V.A.M.S. 456.025) while Kansas doesn’t (Kansas has the rule against perpetuities, which limits trusts to 90 years after the death of the last surviving descendant of the settlor or grantor who made the trust – K.S.A. 59-3401 et seq.). Selsor and Gust explore various trustee issues, including how to vary trustee removal under the trust from the Missouri default rules, no fault removal (V.A.M.S. 456.7-706.2(4); K.S.A. 58a-706), and when is trustee removal justified. UMKC Law Prof Francis Hanna’s Missouri Trust Code and Law Manual (Vol. 4C in West’s Missouri Practice Series) is an annually updated, helpful guide to Missouri trust law puzzles for attorneys. Kansas attorneys have the KBA Probate and Trust Administration Handbook, a helpful resource, but no comparable article (as of yet) surveying recent Kansas trustee removal trends and techniques. And we would refer attorneys or others working with trusts to Loring & Round’s A Trustee’s Handbook, and the Bogert’s Trusts and Trustees and Scott & Ascher on Trusts treatises.

Trusts involve (with apologies to Charles Dickens’ classic novel A Tale of Two Cities (1859)), a tale of three roles (and potential tension) points: (1) the grantor or settlor (who sets up the trust), (2) the trustee (who holds legal title to the assets and administers the trust), and (3) the beneficiary (who gets trust distributions). As Dickens might muse to the lamenting recently removed trustee, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” My law firm uses this chart to help clients visualize the 3 roles.

My law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, has experience working with individuals and families to serve their business and estate planning. I enjoy working with a variety of clients – ranging from single young professionals with minimal assets to multimillionaire business owners with complex trusts. My firm has strong relationships with local and national trust companies to help administer all types and ranges of trusts. If my law firm can help you or your family with your estate planningelder lawasset protectionbusiness law needs, or digital estate planning, including advising on trustee removal or other fiduciary litigation, call me (913-707-9220) or email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a free, convenient appointment.

(c) 2014, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

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