Iowa Court of Appeals Abatement Case

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On May 11, 2022, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the case of In the Matter of the Estate of Dennis R. Peterson, Deceased, Joseph Parcell, Appellant. The decedent Dennis Peterson executed a Will on August 27, 2018. The Will provided in part “I hereby give to Joe Parcell lifetime use of the 2nd and 3rd bays at 207 Collins Street… so long as he pays 35% of overhead”. The Will went on to give the residue of the estate to the decedent’s daughter, Donna Sue Peterson. The Will Appointed Donna Sue Peterson as the executor. Dennis

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Details on the Iowa Inheritance Tax Repeal

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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

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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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Navigating Probate Cases with Joint Tenancy Bank Accounts

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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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Insights from a Recent Living Trust Case

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On July 22, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a ruling in the matter of the Inman Family Living Trust (No. 19-1045).  Leland and Ella Mae Inman executed the Inman Family Living Trust in 2014.  In 2016, Leland passed away.  The Trust provided that the trustees possessed the powers, rights and discretion set forth in the Iowa Code; that the trustees are authorized to determine fairly and equitably the manner of ascertainment of income and principal and the allocation of all receipts and disbursements to income and principal accounts; and that the Trust shall be governed in accordance with

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

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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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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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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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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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Intentional Interference with an Inheritance

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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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