Divorced Husband’s Failure to Remove Former Spouse as Beneficiary of Retirement Plan

iowa lawyer for prenuptual agreement

On April 13, 2022, the Iowa Court of Appeals entered its opinion in the case of University of Dubuque v. Sharon Fairchild and Robilyn G. Cowart (No. 21-0216). Richard Cowart was employed by the University of Dubuque beginning in January of 1998. His spouse at that time, Sharon Cowart, was named as his beneficiary on his TIAA and CREF Retirement Annuity Contracts. Richard and Sharon were divorced in June of 1998. In the divorce case, Sharon signed a stipulation providing that “I, Sharon Cowart, relinquish any claim to any savings accounts, securities, retirement fund, or inheritance due to or belonging

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Iowa Supreme Court Case on new Guardianship Act

iowa guardianship law

On January 14, 2022, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an Opinion in the Matter of the Guardianship of L.Y.  The case is the first interpretation of the new Guardianship Act which went into effect on January 1, 2020. The case involved young parents who consented to a temporary guardianship for the paternal grandparents to serve as guardians of their five-year-old daughter so that the daughter could be placed on the grandparents’ medical insurance and easily travel with them on vacation.  The guardianship was also to provide an opportunity for the parents to complete their divorce and to establish stable lives. 

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Apple Legacy Contact Designation

Apple Legacy Contact Designation

In the past it has been difficult to access a deceased individual’s iCloud account on death.  It has also been impossible to unlock a decedent’s iPhone without knowing their passcode. To solve this issue, Apple has begun a new contact legacy program allowing a person to designate up to five persons as legacy contacts.  The individuals named are allowed to access the data and personal information stored in the iCloud upon death.  The new program requires proof of death along with an access key.  The designation is available in the iOS 15.2 update.  You can find the new legacy contact

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Tortious-Interference-With-Inheritance Claim

Distribution of Property

On June 11, 2021, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case of David Buboltz and Donna Reece, vs. Patricia Birusingh, Estate of Cletis C. Ireland, and Kumari Durick. Cletis Ireland died in March 2016 at age 92.  She was an only child, was never married, and had no children.  At the time of her death she owned a family century farm on which she had resided most of her life.  In 2001, the decedent executed a Will that divided her farm in equal shares to David Buboltz, a farmer who had cash rented eighty acres of the

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Details on the Iowa Inheritance Tax Repeal

iowa inheritance tax repeal

In the past week, the Governor signed Senate File 619 which repeals the Iowa inheritance tax over the next five years.  Numerous attempts have been made over the past decade to eliminate or modify the Iowa inheritance tax.  Pursuant to the bill, for persons dying in the year 2021, the Iowa inheritance tax will be reduced by twenty percent.  For persons dying in the year 2022, the Iowa inheritance tax will be reduced by forty percent.  For persons dying in the year 2023, the Iowa inheritance tax will be reduced by sixty percent.  For persons dying in the year 2024,

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Recent Judgment on Will Challenges During Lifetime

interferance with inheritance

On January 21, 2021, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case of In The Matter of the Guardianship and Conservatorship of Vernon D. Radda v. Washington State Bank, as Conservator for Vernon D. Radda.  The issue in the case was whether a prospective heir can bring a declaratory judgment action under Section 633.637 (2019) of the Iowa Code, to determine the validity of wills before the testator dies.  The Ward executed wills in 1992 and 2015 while he was under a voluntary Conservatorship and without any judicial determination of his testamentary capacity.  The sister of the Ward

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Can Deathbed Instructions Amend a Trust?

inheritance tax code iowa

On October 7, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a Ruling in the matter of the Sandahl Trust (2017).  Craig Sandahl executed the Sandahl Trust which was a Revocable Grantor Trust in 1993.  The Trust was funded with substantially all of Craig Sandahl’s assets.  The Trust was last restated by a document dated August 14, 2017, which was two months before Craig Sandahl passed away. The Trust distributed assets to two groups of recipients.  One group was the “Descendant’s Trust” of which Craig’s children’s lineal descendants were the beneficiaries and the other group was given to the Community Foundation

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Navigating Probate Cases with Joint Tenancy Bank Accounts

iowa probate law

It is not unusual in probating an estate to find that the decedent’s checking account is held in joint tenancy with one of the decedent’s children. The joint account was usually set up to allow said child to pay the bills of the decedent. The question that arises is whether the funds in said account pass to said child at the time of death due to the joint tenancy ownership of the account. In many cases, said child does not want the account to be transferred to the child and would prefer that the funds be divided among all of

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Final Regulations on Deductibility of Expenses of Estates and Non-Grantor Trusts

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

On September 21, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations in regard to the deductibility of expenses of estates and non-grantor trusts.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which was passed previously, bars individuals from claiming miscellaneous itemized deductions for the years 2018 through 2025.  After the passage of the TCJA, there are questions on how such barred itemized deductions would impact estates and non-grantor trusts. The final regulations state that deductions for costs which were paid or incurred in connection with the administration of an estate or trust and which would not have been incurred if the

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New Iowa Supreme Court Case – Estate Planning & Statute of Limitations

iowa real estate law contract

On June 12, 2020, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of In The Matter of the Estate of Sandra R. Franken, John E. Rottinghaus and Dessie Rottinghaus vs. Lincoln Savings Bank, Fiduciary of the Estate of Sandra R. Franken.  Said Ruling was amended on August 17, 2020. In 1973 the Rottinghauses sold real property of Dessie to Sandra and James Kipp, as joint tenants with full rights of survivorship.  The deed granted the Rottinghauses a first right of refusal which stated as follows: Grantees hereby agree that they will not sell or otherwise convey the premises

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