New Iowa Supreme Court Probate Case – Harold Youngblut vs. Leonard Youngblut

probate law case iowa supreme court

On June 12, 2020, the Supreme Court of Iowa issued a decision in the Harold Youngblut vs. Leonard Youngblut case.  The case involves two brothers, Harold and Leonard Youngblut.  Their parent were Earl and Agnes Youngblut.  Earl and Agnes were the parents of twelve children, three of whom predeceased them.  Earl and Agnes formed a corporation, Youngblut Farmland Ltd. in 1980 and transferred most of their farm assets into the corporation with the exception of farm ground in Tama County known as the “South Farm”.  Both Harold and Leonard worked for the corporation until Leonard left in 1988 over a

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Passage of the Secure Act & What it Means to You

On December 20, 2019, the President signed into law the Secure Act.  This article will focus on the key provisions of the new Act. The new Act changes the beginning age for taking required minimum distributions to age 72.  The new law applies to account owners who turn 70½ after the year 2019.  The new Act also repeals the prohibition on contributions to a traditional IRA by an individual who has attained the age of 70½.  Owners of traditional IRA’s can now make contributions past the age of 70½. The new Act also allows taxpayers to withdraw up to $5,000

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Final Regulations on Increased Gift and Estate Tax Exclusion Amounts

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations on November 22, 2019, confirming that individuals taking advantage of the increased gift and estate tax exclusion amounts in effect from 2018 through 2025 will not be adversely impacted after 2025 when the exclusion amount is scheduled to drop to pre-2018 levels. The final regulations largely adopt the proposed regulations from last year.  The final regulations also contain four examples which illustrate the impact of inflation adjustments.  Individuals who are planning to make large gifts between 2018 and 2025 can make such gifts without concern that they will lose

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Mental Illness and Lack of Testamentary Capacity

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On September 25, 2019, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a ruling in the Matter of the Estate of Freeman Adams.  Freeman Adams died in December 2016.  Dorothy Ruth Fisher, the sister of the decedent, petitioned in probate to open an intestate estate for the decedent.  Ms. Fisher acknowledged that the decedent executed a Last Will and Testament in 2011 and asserted that such document was invalid due to lack of testamentary capacity or the product of undue influence, or both.  Two beneficiaries of the Estate objected to Ms. Fisher’s petition. The facts of the case show that the decedent

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New Retirement Bill Passes House

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On May 23, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed (417-3) the Secure Act with the support of both Republicans and Democrats.  The purpose of the bill is to improve the country’s retirement system.  The bill is currently in the U.S. Senate awaiting passage.  Some of the main provisions that the Secure Act provides are as follows: It will repeal the maximum age for Traditional IRA contributions, which is currently 70. It will change the age to begin required minimum distributions from 70½ to 72. It will allow long term, part time workers to participate in 401k plans; It will

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Fiduciary Obligations on a 529 Account Owned by a Trust

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On May 15, 2019, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued an Opinion in the case of Alberhasky v. Alberhasky.  The Opinion has received national attention.  The plaintiff, Max Alberhasky, sued his father, Rodney Alberhasky, alleging that Rod breached his fiduciary duties as a trustee of assets transferred to Rod’s mother.  Rod filed for divorce in 1999.  Rod has two children, Max and Grayson.  In 2000, Rod’s mother, Allie, set up a Revocable Trust and named Rod and her daughter, JoEllen, as successor trustees.  Rod and JoEllen became co-trustees for Allie’s Trust in 2009.  In 2010, Allie’s Trust enrolled in an

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Changes to Guardianship and Conservatorship Statutes

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The Iowa Legislature recently passed and the Governor signed legislation which makes significant changes to the Iowa law regarding guardianships and conservatorships for adults and minors.  This month I will deal with the changes regarding Guardianships for adults and Conservatorships for adults and minors.  Next month, I will discuss changes for Guardianships for minors. For new guardianships and conservatorships which are opened after December 31, 2019, there are new requirements requiring professional evaluation of the proposed protected person and a requirement for a background check for all proposed guardians and conservators.  The guardian and conservator is required to file an

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New Law Regarding Certification of Trust

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The Governor has recently signed Senate File 112 amending the requirements for certifications of trust. The new Act becomes effective July 1, 2019.  The certification of trust must do all of the following: State that the Trust has not been revoked, modified or amended in any manner that would cause the representations in the certification of trust to be incorrect. Be signed by a currently acting trustee or the attorney of an acting trustee. Be subscribed and sworn to under penalty of perjury before a notary public as provided in Chapter 9B. The new Act is broader than the current

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Tax-Free IRA Distributions to Certain Public Charities for Taxpayers 70½ and Older

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The Federal Path Act includes provisions to allow a taxpayer who is age 70½ or older to make tax-free distributions from their IRA’s to qualified charities. The Path Act allows an individual who is over the age of 70½ to make a direct distribution from their IRA account to a charity.  The benefit of doing such is that the amount transferred to the charity will be counted as part of the taxpayer’s qualified minimum distribution and it will also not be included in the taxpayer’s gross income for Federal and State income taxes.  In order to qualify as a qualified

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Opinion Issued on “No-Contest” Provision

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The Iowa Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion involving a will that contained a “no-contest” provision.  The will in question contained a “no-contest” provision which provided that if any beneficiary under the will contests the validity of the will by filing suit against the executor, any share to such beneficiary under the will is revoked and shall be disposed of in the manner provided under the will if the contesting beneficiary and all descendants of that beneficiary have predeceased the testator. After the testator’s death, a beneficiary under the will filed a petition to set aside the will based

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