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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Iowa Supreme Court Case on new Guardianship Act

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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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Lawsuit Arising Out of Gift of LLC Interest

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On February 3, 2021, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the case of Erwin v. Erwin, No. 19-1978 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 3, 2021). that involved a dispute between a father and son regarding the operation of their member/managed LLC.  In 2012, the father and his spouse transferred title of farm ground owned by them into a LLC for estate planning purposes.  The property was subject to a mortgage, however, the deed did not state that the transfer was subject to a mortgage.  The father subsequently made a gift to his son of one-half of the membership

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Can Deathbed Instructions Amend a Trust?

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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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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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Information on Protecting Yourself From the COVID-19 Crisis

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This month’s Blog comes to you at a time when our country is dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued the following recommendations to protect yourself. Know How it Spreads There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land

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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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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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Recent Changes to the Iowa Small Estate Statute

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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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