Statutory and Virtual Representation, Probate Litigation
“Virtual representation” is a judge-made preclusion doctrine where an order or judgment against one party binds another. Specifically, it precludes and prevents the relitigation of a claim if “the interest of the represented and the representative are so identical that the inducement and desire to protect the common interest may be assumed to be the same in each and if there can be no adversity of interest between them.” Pauli v. Spicer, 445 S.W.3d 667, 678 (Mo. Ct. App. 2014). The doctrine is based on “convenience and necessity.” Id.
Section 472.300, RSMo, moreover, creates legislative representation rules for proceedings involving trusts and decedent estates. Specifically — provided there is no conflict of interest — orders binding a guardian bind a protectee, orders binding a trustee bind beneficiaries in certain circumstances, and orders binding a personal representative bind persons interested in the undistributed assets of a decedent’s estate in actions or proceedings by or against the estate.