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Contract Law West Des Moines

New Laws Pertaining to First-Time Homebuyer Savings Accounts

new real estate laws for first time home buyers

A new law was recently signed by the Governor which authorizes tax-preferred First-Time Homebuyer Savings Accounts beginning in the year 2018.  Under the law, when an individual sets up a FTHSA account, he or she may exclude from their Iowa adjusted gross income yearly deposits of $2,000.  Married taxpayers who file a joint return may exclude up to $4,000.00 a year if the money is deposited into a joint FTHSA.  Any interest earned on a FTHSA account, will not be included in a taxpayer’s income. At the time that the FTHSA is opened, an individual can designate a sole beneficiary. 

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Iowa Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

laws about digital assets iowa

On April 20, 2017, Governor Branstad signed the Iowa Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act which is codified in Chapter 638 of the Iowa Code.  The Act broadly defines “digital asset” to mean any electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest.  However, the term “digital asset” does not include an underlying asset or liability unless the asset or liability is itself an electronic record and the term “digital asset” does not include health information or individually identifiable health information as those terms are defined in the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. 

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Dismissal of Des Moines Waterworks Lawsuit

des moines water works ruling

The lawsuit filed by the Des Moines Waterworks against the drainage districts in three Northwest Iowa Counties has been followed extensively in the press.  The case which deals with the issue of how to deal with the levels of nitrates in the State’s drinking water was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa.  The Federal District Court Judge certified four questions to the Iowa Supreme Court in order to clarify issues of Iowa law raised in the lawsuit.  The Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling finding that Iowa law has immunized drainage districts from

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Understanding Continuation of Restrictive Covenants

restrictive covenants

Many residential developments (homes, condos and townhomes) have restrictive covenants which set out restrictions regarding the use of properties located in the development.  Most restrictive covenants set forth the term of years that the restrictive covenants will be in effect.  As set out below, such terms do not always apply to restrictive covenants that are also “use restrictions”. Chapter 614.24 of the Iowa Code was initially adopted in 1965 and provides for the termination of all “use restrictions” on a property after a period of 21 years.  The term “use restrictions” has never been defined in the Code until the

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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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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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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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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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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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Real Estate Law – Sell Your Home By Yourself

home sales by owner des moines real estate lawyer

Spring has finally arrived and sales of homes are picking up. Most homeowners opt to list their homes with a realtor. The commission due to a realtor on the sale of a home is generally seven percent (7%) of the sales price. This can be a significant expense. For example, the 7 percent commission on the sale of a $250,000.00 home is $17,500.00. Another option is to list your home for sale by yourself and to retain an attorney to assist you with the sale. The attorney can assist by preparing the various disclosures which are required to be provided

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