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Will & Trusts West Des Moines

Big News for Family Settlement Agreements

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The Iowa Department of Revenue has had a long standing position that it will not accept Family Settlement Agreements to change the calculation of Iowa Inheritance Tax.  The Department has always relied on the original Will or Trust to calculate the amount of inheritance tax owed to the State of Iowa.  A recent Iowa Court of Appeals decision has changed the long standing policy regarding Family Settlement Agreements.  Family Settlement Agreements arise in estates or trusts where the beneficiaries of the Estate or Trust agree to enter into an agreement to change how the assets of the Estate or Trust

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Thinking of Gifting of Body to University of Iowa?

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Many clients inquire as to the process to donate one’s body to the University of Iowa for scientific purposes. In order to be effective, the University of Iowa requires that a Deed of Disposition of Body for Scientific Purposes be on file with the University prior to an individual’s death. The Deed of Disposition of Body for Scientific Purposes can be executed by a person who is 18 years of age and competent. The University retains the right to not accept the body if it is not appropriate for their needs. The family of the donor or the estate of

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Guardianships and Conservatorships

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I have written previously in this Blog regarding the use of Medical Power of Attorneys and Financial Power of Attorneys. One of the benefits of the Health and Financial Powers is that in many cases they can be used to avoid setting up a formal Guardianship and Conservatorship with the Court. The Guardian makes medical and social decisions for the Ward and also decides on where the Ward will reside. The Conservator handles the Ward’s property and finances. Either an individual or a bank may act as a Guardian or Conservator. Guardians and Conservators are required to file annual reports

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Administration of Small Estates

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Chapter 635 of the Iowa Code sets forth a provision dealing with the administration of small estates.  In order to qualify for a small estate, the gross value of the probate assets of a decedent must not exceed $100,000.00.  Probate assets do not include life insurance proceeds and retirement plan benefits if such items pass by designation of beneficiary form.  The provisions for fees for the personal representative and the attorney for the estate are different from the regular probate provisions set out in Chapter 633 of Iowa Code.  Under the small estate statute, the fees for the personal representative

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Facts About Organ Donation

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My blog articles for the past two months have dealt with Power of Attorneys for Health Care Decisions and Living Wills.  Both documents contain a paragraph dealing with organ donation.  If you check yes, you are indicating that in the event medical professionals determine that you are an organ donor, you agree to the use of life-sustaining procedures, including a ventilator for the sole purpose and time period required to complete the organ donation.   It is my experience that many clients who come to my office to discuss estate planning have not considered the option of becoming an organ

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Benefits of Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions

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Last month I discussed in detail Living Will documents which are used to insure the rights and desires of terminally ill or comatose individuals are honored.  This month I will focus on Powers of Attorney for Health Care Decisions and how they work with Living Wills.  If a person is unable to make health care decisions and does not have a Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions, it is necessary to file a Petition for Appointment of Guardian with the Iowa District Court to appoint a Guardian to make health care decisions and decisions as to where the individual

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Everything You Need To Know About Living Wills

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Iowa law allows for individuals to execute Living Wills to insure that the rights and desires of terminally ill or comatose individuals are honored.  The document takes the decision making burden away from your family members.  Your physician will make sure your desires are accomplished.  Pursuant to the Living Will, you direct your physician to withhold life-sustaining procedures in the event you have an incurable or irreversible condition that will result in death within a relatively short period of time or a state of permanent unconsciousness from which, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, there can be no recovery.

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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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