Schwerin v. RatcliffeAnnotate this Case
In this declaratory action concerning the per stirpes distribution of two family trusts the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial court rendering summary judgment for Defendants, the trustees of the trusts and potential beneficiaries, and dismissing this action brought by Plaintiffs, potential beneficiaries, holding that the trial court did not err.
The two trusts in this case contained language that, upon the expiration of the trust term, the trust principal was to be distributed to the grantor's issue then living, per stirpes. On appeal, Plaintiffs argued that the trial court erred in concluding that the language of the trust agreements treated the grantors' children, rather than the grandchildren, as the heads of the respective stirpes for purposes of distributing the trust principal. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the trial court correctly concluded that the trust instruments unambiguously provided that the heads of the respective stirpes should be the grantors' children.