SERENA KONRARDY and CARRIE RIGDON n/k/a CARRIE BURMEISTER, Appellees,
VINCENT ANGERER TRUST, DATED MARCH 27, 1998, and DEWITT BANK & TRUST COMPANY, as Trustee of the VINCENT ANGERER TRUST, DATED MARCH 27, 1998, Appellants.
from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Mark R.
review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.
Elliott R. McDonald III of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson,
P.C., Davenport, for appellants.
J. DeLange II, Davenport, for appellees.
appellants seek further review of a court appeals decision
that affirmed the district court order denying their motion
for summary judgment concerning the distribution of trust
assets to appellees.
plaintiffs are two beneficiaries of a trust who filed an
action asking the district court to resolve a dispute with
the defendants concerning the valuation date of the defendant
trust. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment,
arguing the plaintiffs' action was untimely and the terms
of the trust clearly provided the valuation date. The
district court denied this motion on both grounds, and the
court of appeals affirmed the district court's denial on
interlocutory appeal. For the reasons explained below, we
vacate the court of appeals' decision, reverse the
district court judgment, and remand to the district court for
entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendants because
the plaintiffs' action is untimely.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
Angerer established the Vincent Angerer Trust (the trust) on
March 27, 1998. The trust created equal shares for each of
his five siblings. According to the terms, each share would
be placed in individual trusts for his siblings and the
spouse of a deceased sibling. However, when both a sibling
and the sibling's spouse died, the trust instructed the
trustee to distribute that trust share to the living
descendants of that sibling.
died on May 30, 2010. Angerer was not married and had no
direct descendants. He was survived by three siblings and one
spouse of a deceased sibling. A fifth sibling, Cecelia
Howard, predeceased Angerer with no surviving spouse.
Howard's descendants were her daughter, Rita Goedken, and
Serena Konrardy and Carrie Burmeister, the daughters of
Howard's predeceased son and plaintiffs in this case.
Because Howard and her spouse predeceased Angerer, their
shares of the trust were immediately distributable to their
value of the trust's assets at the time of Angerer's
death was $1, 751, 260.98. By the time the trustee paid
Konrardy and Burmeister their distributions in October 2011,
the value of the trust had significantly increased due to
rapid appreciation in the value of farmland. Nevertheless,
the trustee determined Konrardy's and Burmeister's
shares based on the net value at the time of Angerer's
death. Thus, each of them received $85, 089.74 for their
share, plus $1250.00 for their pro rata share of the trust
income that accrued before these distributions were made. On
October 19, 2011, each signed the "Waiver, Receipt and
Release as to Final Distribution of Assets for a Beneficiary
of the Vincent Angerer Trust" to "confirm,
approve and ratif[y] each and every act of the
Trustee." The document also stated, "The
undersigned hereby specifically waives notice [and] waives
any and all accounting and production of vouchers . . .
August 11, 2015-nearly four years after distribution-an
attorney representing Konrardy and Burmeister sent a letter
to DeWitt Bank & Trust Company concerning the
distribution of the assets to Konrardy and Burmeister. The
letter stated Konrardy and Burmeister "were seemingly
treated differently than the remaining trust
beneficiaries." It also declared, "It would appear
that their proportionate and share of the trust [was] paid
out on a significantly reduced basis and that they were not
fully advised of the potential value of the real estate
involved." The letter questioned whether the trustee
fulfilled the fiduciary duty to protect Konrardy's and
Burmeister's interests. Consequently, Konrardy and
Burmeister requested "a full rationale of why [they]
were treated differently from all other beneficiaries under
Hill of DeWitt Bank & Trust Company sent a response dated
August 19, explaining the distributions to Konrardy and
Burmeister were based on the language of the trust directing
the trustee to "immediate[ly] pay out of any share to
the descendants when both the sibling and spouse have passed
away." Hill enclosed accountings for the years 2010,
2011, and 2012. The attorney for Konrardy and Burmeister
acknowledged he received Hill's letter and enclosures in
a letter to Hill dated September 9, again claiming Konrardy
and Burmeister were treated differently.
March 15, 2017-approximately eighteen months after the
correspondence exchanged between the trustee and attorney for
Konrardy and Burmeister-Konrardy and Burmeister filed a
petition in equity against the trust and DeWitt Bank &
Trust Company (the defendants), claiming their distributions
should have been valued as of the date of distribution in
October 2011 rather than the date of Angerer's death in
May 2010. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment
on September 1, arguing the action was untimely because
Konrardy and Burmeister failed to initiate it within one year
of receiving an accounting of the trust estate and the
language of the trust requires the distribution to them be
based on the value of the trust's assets at the date of
Angerer's death. The district court denied the motion,
noting it could not "determine as a matter of law that
the defendants' interpretation of the trust language is
correct" and a genuine issue of material fact exists
"as to whether the plaintiffs received an accounting
adequately disclosing the ...