Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division
IN THE MATTER OF THE CHARLES H. STIX TESTAMENTARY TRUST DATED AUGUST 7, 1945, AND THE CLARA F. STIX TESTAMENTARY TRUST DATED APRIL 20, 1943
from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis.
1222-PR00313. Honorable Philip D. Heagney.
APPELLANT: Michael W. Bartolacci, Kimberly M. Bousquet,
Alicia M. Konstantinovich, St. Louis, MO.
RESPONDENT: Robert J. Selsor, Atty. for Resp. Justin S.
Grace, St. Louis, MO; Michael J. McKitrick, Misty A. Watson,
Atty. for Resp. Brian C. Pate, St. Louis, MO; Robert John
Will, Atty. for Resp. Bank of America, St. Louis, MO.
M. CLAYTON III, Judge.
Charles Grace, Nancy Grace, and William Grace (respectively
" Charles," " Nancy," and "
William," and collectively " Appellants" )
appeal the probate court's grant of summary judgment in
favor of Justin Grace (" Respondent" ), finding
that Respondent was a qualified beneficiary to two
testamentary trusts at issue because he is the descendant of
Appellants' brother Robert Grace. We affirm.
are the grandchildren of Charles Stix (" Charles" )
and the great-grandchildren of Clara Stix (" Clara"
), Charles' mother. The provisions of the last will and
testament of both Clara and Charles created trusts for the
benefit of their descendants, effective April 20, 1943 and
August 7, 1945, respectively. Charles' daughter Ann Stix
Grace (" Ann" ) was the sole lifetime beneficiary
of both trusts following the death of Clara and Charles and
received all income from each trust.
the trusts terminated upon Ann's death on January 27,
2012. The trusts used slightly different language to dispose
of the estate following Ann's death. Clara's trust
provided that upon Ann's death, her trust estate would be
divided among Ann's living children and, if any of
Ann's children predeceased her, that child's portion
would pass to that child's descendants. Charles'
trust provided that upon the death of Ann, the Trustee was to
distribute all the money and other property then constituting
the trust estate in equal shares per stirpes to Ann's
living descendants. Although the trusts used different
language, the class of " descendants" is identical
under both trusts, with each descendant taking an equal
share. The trust documents do not otherwise define the term
five children, including Appellants Charles, Nancy, and
William, as well as Robert Grace and John Grace. Robert and
John each predeceased Ann, John without leaving any children.
The issue in this case is whether Respondent is Robert's
descendant within the meaning of the trusts and therefore
entitled to Robert's share of the proceeds.
March 28, 1985, Robert married Respondent's mother, Susan
Martin (" Susan" ). Respondent was born in the
State of Washington on October 28, 1985, and Respondent's
birth certificate listed Robert as Respondent's father.
Robert and Susan divorced on October 24, 1988, also in the
State of Washington. The Washington court issued a
dissolution judgment with findings of fact and conclusions of
(" the Washington judgment" ) stating " the
following child has been born as a result of this
marriage : Justin Samuel Grace, born October 28,
1985" (emphasis added). The judgment granted Susan
primary custody of Respondent and ...