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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Conservator’s Authority to Enter into Farm Leases

conservators authority farm lease iowa

On May 21, 2021, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an opinion In The Matter and Conservatorship of Marvin M. Jorgensen, No. 18-1235 (Iowa Sup. Ct. May 21, 2021).  Marvin Jorgensen suffered a stroke in 2016 that left him unable to manage his nearly 18,000 acres of Iowa farmland.  Prior to the stroke, Marvin leased approximately half of his farmland to his children and to several grandchildren in “handshake” agreements that were never put in writing.  After the stroke, a Conservatorship was opened for Marvin and the Conservator entered into new written leases with family members which continued with Marvin’s practice

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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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Iowa Court Finds Restraint On Alienation

ia supreme court on alienation of property

On April 30, 2021, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an opinion on In the Matter of the Estate of Vera E. Cawiezell, Deceased, Phyllis Knoche, Terry Brooks, and Jill Brooks, Appellants vs. Tom Coronelli and Beth Coronelli, Appellees.   Vera Cawiezell died testate in April 2018.  Her Will was admitted to probate.  In the Will the decedent devised approximately 150 acres of farm ground to her friends, Tom and Beth Coronelli, subject to certain general restrictions in favor of Terry Brooks, the Tenant, who farmed the ground during the decedent’s life.  Item 3 of the Will provided as follows: I hereby

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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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