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Probate Law West Des Moines

Opinion Issued on “No-Contest” Provision

last will and testement no-content

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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Intentional Interference with an Inheritance

interferance with inheritance

A recent case by the Iowa Court of Appeals dealt with the tort of intentional interference with an inheritance.  In the case, the testator died in 2015.  She had three children, two sons and a daughter.  She executed a Will in 2010 which divided her estate equally among her three children.  She executed another Will in 2011 which left most of her estate to her son, Wayne. After the 2011 Will was drafted, the other two children moved to file for a Guardianship and Conservatorship in regards to their mother.  The other brother, Wayne, proceeded to have a Codicil drafted

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Recent Changes to the Iowa Small Estate Statute

probate assets, small estate administration

Chapter 365 of the Iowa Code contains the Small Estate Statute. Recent legislation was passed which has made changes to the Chapter. The current statute is applicable to an estate if the value of the probate assets are $100,000.00 or less. One of the changes made in the legislation is to increase the maximum value of probate assets for an estate to qualify for small estate administration to $200,000.00 effective for estates of decedents dying on or after July 1, 2020. The new change in the maximum value of probate assets, combined with the increase in the amount for distribution

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New Law Regarding Distribution of Decedent’s Property By Affidavit

death benefits insurance

The Governor recently signed Legislation which amends the Iowa Code Section 633.356 which allows distribution of a decedent’s property by Affidavit in lieu of a formal probate proceeding. The previous Section applied when the gross value of a decedent’s personal property was valued at $25,000.00 or less.  The new Section increases the dollar amount to $50,000.00 or less.  The new Act, like the previous Act, requires 40 days to pass from the death of a decedent before the Affidavit can be utilized.  The new Act becomes effective July 1, 2018.  The new Act requires that an Affidavit state that no

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Be Wary of Transfer on Death and Payable on Death Accounts

The use of transfer on death and payable on death registrations for bank and investment accounts has increased dramatically.  Banks and investment firms are pushing their clients to sign the forms claiming that the forms will eliminate the need for probate administration. Chapter 633D of the Iowa Code deals with transfer on death registrations which applies to investment accounts.  The Act allows the owner to designate the beneficiary of the account in the event of the owner’s death.  The beneficiary form may be cancelled or changed at any time by the owner without the consent of the beneficiary.  The Act

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Big News for Family Settlement Agreements

iowa family will lawyer

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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Iowa Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

laws about digital assets iowa

On April 20, 2017, Governor Branstad signed the Iowa Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act which is codified in Chapter 638 of the Iowa Code.  The Act broadly defines “digital asset” to mean any electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest.  However, the term “digital asset” does not include an underlying asset or liability unless the asset or liability is itself an electronic record and the term “digital asset” does not include health information or individually identifiable health information as those terms are defined in the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. 

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Administration of Small Estates

estate planning lawyer west des moines iowa

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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Benefits of Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions

power of attorney des moines iowa

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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