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Beatty & Miller News

Mediation In Probate

mediation in probate, beatty & Miller PC

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

filing wills and legal documents west des moines, iowa

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?

recordkeeping west des moines iowa

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?

inheritance taxes, iowa estate taxes,federal death taxes

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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De Minimis Safe Harbor Expense Threshold

business taxes, business tax deductions, deduction limits, business expense threshold limits, De Minimis Safe Harbor Expense Threshold

On November 25, 2015, the IRS issued a Notice increasing the De Minimis Safe Harbor Threshold for deducting certain capital expenses from $500.00 to $2,500.00.  The new limit goes in effect on January 1, 2016.  The De Minimis Safe Harbor Expense Threshold is applicable to any type of business entity: a C Corporation, an S Corporation, an LLC, or any type of partnership, and Schedule C (Profit or Loss from Sole Proprietorship), Schedule E (Supplemental Income and Loss from Rental Real Estate), Schedule F (Profit or Loss from Farming) and Schedule 4835 (Farm Rental Income and Expenses).   We are recommending

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How Long Should You Keep Records?

How long to keep legal documents files

Our clients frequently ask us for advice on how long they need to attain their various records. Often times, the requirements for records retention varies based on the circumstances. For the benefit of our clients as well as you, our readers, the table set forth below will give some general guidelines for record-keeping and documentation. If you have additional questions pertaining to the documentation of legal records or have questions concerning another legal matter, please don’t hesitate to call us – 515-225-1100. By James D. Beatty.

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“Near Death” Experiences Should Prompt Immediate Actions

neat death experience

After you have recovered from a near-death experience, what are some tasks/things you might want to consider doing promptly (not prioritized except for the first task to do). Call your mother/father assuming they too have recovered from your near-death experience. Call your favorite teacher/athletic coach/mentor and tell him/her or them how much you have appreciated her/him or them (you may need to assume that she/he or they remember you). Invite your closest friend(s) to your home and share a bottle of really good wine or really really good Scotch with her/him or them. Go to that favorite quiet place in

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