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Estate & Trust Administration

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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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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Distribution of Property by Affidavit

Distribution of Property

Section 633.356 of the Iowa Probate Code sets forth a provision that is often overlooked by the estate planning professionals. The provision sets forth a method to avoid probate of an estate in an item of personal property involved is valued at $25,000.00 or less. For example, a person may die with a house titled in joint tenancy with their spouse and have a life insurance policy to their spouse but have a bank account in their individual name. The house passes to the surviving spouse outside of probate due to the fact that the asset is held in joint

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The ABLE Act (acronym: Achieving Better Life Experience)

able act - saving money for college

The ABLE Act referred to in last month’s blog was signed by the Governor and becomes law effective July 1, 2016. The Act authorizes the State of Iowa to create savings accounts, similar to the 529 College Saving Plans, to be created for disabled persons prior to age 26. The income earned on such accounts are exempt from Federal income tax if the money is spent for eligible services. The Treasurer of the State of Iowa is drafting the administrative provisions for the Act and will act as the depository for the savings accounts. Also, the Governor signed the Inheritance

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2015 Legislative Changes Regarding Probate & Trust

legislative changes for probate trust will estate

The 2015 Legislature recently adjourned for the year. I will summarize the major items of legislation which were passed by the House and Senate. Iowa inheritance tax changes were made in regard to bequests going to the children of step-children.   Prior to the passage of the act, there was no Iowa inheritance tax owed from bequests passing to the surviving spouse, parents, grandparents, great grandparents, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and other lineal descendants. The new Act provides that bequests passing to lineal descendants of a decedent’s stepchildren will also be exempt from Iowa inheritance tax.   The bill does not

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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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Directives Often Overlooked In Estate Planning, Wills, and Trusts

estate planning

Much has been written about the importance and benefits of a person having a Will or a Revocable Trust for the disposition of his or her assets, a Statutory Power of Attorney (Financial Power of Attorney), a Medical Power of Attorney, and a Declaration Concerning Life Sustaining Procedures (a Living Will). There are two other estate planning directives that often get overlooked. They are: A Testamentary Letter; Final Disposition of a Person’s Body. Iowa Code Chapter 633.276 makes provisions for a person who desires to make a specific bequest of tangible personal property may do so by signing what I

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