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Beatty & Miller News

Ned P. Miller “Of Counsel” October 1, 2016

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On October 1, 2016, Ned P. Miller will change his status from a Shareholder to “Of Counsel”. The “Of Counsel” designation indicates that Ned is on a semi-retirement basis and will continue his practice in fewer or more select areas of the practice of law. He will also be available to the firm for consultation and advice as needed. Our firm will remain in the same location and we will continue to practice in the same areas of the practice of law. James D. Beatty will continue as a Shareholder and will continue to practice full time. In the future,

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What is a Revocable Living Trust?

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This month I want to introduce you to the Revocable Living Trust which is also known as a Revocable Trust, Living Trust, or Inter Vivos Trust. A Revocable Living Trust is a document which is used to manage one’s property during life and to distribute one’s property at the time of death. The person who creates the Trust is referred to as the trustor, grantor or settlor. The person who holds the property and who is in charge of the management of the Trust is the trustee. The individuals and entities which receive distributions from the Trust are the beneficiaries.

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More About Mediation

mediation, probate court mediation, mediation services

In last month’s blog, Jim Beatty discussed the mediation program for probate matters in Polk County. This blog will piggyback on that blog. Recently, I have had my first experience facilitating a mediation involving a probate matter. In anticipation of the mediation event, I did some research regarding styles of facilitating a mediation event and the styles of the positions of the disputing parties. Not only is it important to clearly identify a mutual understanding of the disputed issues, but equally important to identify the emotional impact which both have related to the dispute. The fact issue will most often be an economic (business matter)

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Mediation In Probate

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Recently the Iowa Supreme Court approved on a trial basis a mediation program for probate matters in Polk County, Iowa. Under the program, the Polk County Probate Judge has the ability to refer matters to mediation at his discretion. Unlike arbitration, where the arbitrator makes a decision which is binding on the parties, a mediator works with the parties to help them reach a decision which is agreeable to the parties. The mediators for the program will be experienced probate attorneys who have gone through mediation training. Both Jim Beatty and Ned Miller of our office completed 24 hours of mediation training in April of this

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Skepticism as a Useful Tool

legal sceptic evaluation

I am not suggesting that one must be a skeptic but rather that constructive doubt is useful in my profession.  I need to have an understanding of the differences among (1) what I think, (2) what I believe, and (3) what I know. With regard to thinking, it involves the development of a process by which I gather information.  It is being open-minded, being non-judgmental and does not evaluate the information or documentation assembled. With regard to what I believe, it involves looking at the information and the documentation assembled and sorting through the information and documentation to analyze which

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Options for Distribution of Personal Property

distribution of personal property

A question that always comes up when I meet with new Will clients is how to handle distribution of one’s personal property. One option is to direct your executor to divide your personal property equally among a group of individuals.  The Will can provide that the executor makes the decision as to what property goes to what individual or can provide that the individuals decide among themselves as to what property goes to what individual.  Both options can cause problems. If a child is also acting as executor, the decisions made by said child on how to distribute personal property

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Don’t Hide The Important Documents From Yourself

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After a person has signed his/her Will, the most often asked question is, “what do I do with my Will”. There are a variety of responses to that question. Among the answers are: A safe deposit box which can present another problem at your death; A secured strong box in your home; The Trust Department of the bank if you have named the bank as executor of your estate. If you place your Will in your safe deposit box, make certain that you have authorized your spouse, at least one of your children or a trusted friend to have access

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Answers on Iowa’s Final Disposition Act

caring for the body after death

In the course of managing the estate for yourself or a loved one, the specifics surrounding disposition is often confusing. Iowa law provides detailed answers, but after the death of an individual, family members and friends are often concerned with consoling one another and paying respects to the deceased. Burial, cremation, and other details need to be fully defined through proper estate planning procedures. For your convenience, we’ve put together a comprehensive overview of the Iowa Code for Disposition. Chapter 144C of the Iowa Code, which was enacted in 2008, sets forth the Final Disposition Act which allows a person

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Recordkeeping: A Blissful Task or Cursed Undertaking?

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What is it about Recordkeeping that makes it so difficult to do at times? As I get into the topic of recordkeeping, I learned that it is a much broader topic than this Blog has time to address. Recordkeeping addresses an array of matters for which records are created. In my opinion, there are two significant elements of recordkeeping, they are the emotional side (how I feel about recordkeeping) and the reasoning side (what I think about recordkeeping). First, I want to address the emotional side. Is it fun to do? Is it tedious to do? Do I feel rewarded

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Death Taxes – What Are They?

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The words “death taxes” were created by persons (politicians) without defining the meaning or definitions of the words when they are spoken or written. I will try to bring meaning to the words “death taxes.” The event of death can cause two separate and distinct taxes. They are: A Federal estate tax and A State’s inheritance tax First the Federal estate tax is imposed on assets of a decedent’s estate over which he/she have title, ownership, dominion or control and have a net value of greater than $5,430,000 (called the Applicable Exclusion Amount) for deaths that occur in the year

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