Recent Undue Influence Case in Iowa

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On August 3, 2022, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued an opinion In the Matter of the Estate of Sam Vernon Elsen, deceased, Michelle Lynn Davila, Plaintiff and Chad Michael Elsen, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. Emily Jean Elsen-Cox, individually and as Trustee of the Sam Vernon Elsen Revocable Trust and Executor of the Estate of Sam Vernon Elsen, Defendant-Appellee. Sam Vernon Elsen was born in 1946. He was the father of three children, all with his first wife Marjorie. Sam adopted Michelle who was Marjorie’s daughter from a prior relationship. Emily and Chad were born out of the marriage of Sam and

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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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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  The certification of trust must do all of the following: State that the Trust has not been revoked, modified or amended in any manner that would cause the representations in the certification of trust to be incorrect.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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Thinking of Gifting of Body to University of Iowa?

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Many clients inquire as to the process to donate one’s body to the University of Iowa for scientific purposes. In order to be effective, the University of Iowa requires that a Deed of Disposition of Body for Scientific Purposes be on file with the University prior to an individual’s death. The Deed of Disposition of Body for Scientific Purposes can be executed by a person who is 18 years of age and competent. The University retains the right to not accept the body if it is not appropriate for their needs. The family of the donor or the estate of

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Guardianships and Conservatorships

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I have written previously in this Blog regarding the use of Medical Power of Attorneys and Financial Power of Attorneys. One of the benefits of the Health and Financial Powers is that in many cases they can be used to avoid setting up a formal Guardianship and Conservatorship with the Court. The Guardian makes medical and social decisions for the Ward and also decides on where the Ward will reside. The Conservator handles the Ward’s property and finances. Either an individual or a bank may act as a Guardian or Conservator. Guardians and Conservators are required to file annual reports

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Facts About Organ Donation

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My blog articles for the past two months have dealt with Power of Attorneys for Health Care Decisions and Living Wills.  Both documents contain a paragraph dealing with organ donation.  If you check yes, you are indicating that in the event medical professionals determine that you are an organ donor, you agree to the use of life-sustaining procedures, including a ventilator for the sole purpose and time period required to complete the organ donation.   It is my experience that many clients who come to my office to discuss estate planning have not considered the option of becoming an organ

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Everything You Need To Know About Living Wills

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Iowa law allows for individuals to execute Living Wills to insure that the rights and desires of terminally ill or comatose individuals are honored.  The document takes the decision making burden away from your family members.  Your physician will make sure your desires are accomplished.  Pursuant to the Living Will, you direct your physician to withhold life-sustaining procedures in the event you have an incurable or irreversible condition that will result in death within a relatively short period of time or a state of permanent unconsciousness from which, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, there can be no recovery.

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What is a Revocable Living Trust?

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This month I want to introduce you to the Revocable Living Trust which is also known as a Revocable Trust, Living Trust, or Inter Vivos Trust. A Revocable Living Trust is a document which is used to manage one’s property during life and to distribute one’s property at the time of death. The person who creates the Trust is referred to as the trustor, grantor or settlor. The person who holds the property and who is in charge of the management of the Trust is the trustee. The individuals and entities which receive distributions from the Trust are the beneficiaries.

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“Near Death” Experiences Should Prompt Immediate Actions

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After you have recovered from a near-death experience, what are some tasks/things you might want to consider doing promptly (not prioritized except for the first task to do). Call your mother/father assuming they too have recovered from your near-death experience. Call your favorite teacher/athletic coach/mentor and tell him/her or them how much you have appreciated her/him or them (you may need to assume that she/he or they remember you). Invite your closest friend(s) to your home and share a bottle of really good wine or really really good Scotch with her/him or them. Go to that favorite quiet place in

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Attention To Detail Is Everything In Estate Planning

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By James D. Beatty Many clients we meet with within Des Moines, West Des Moines, Urbandale, Johnston, Ankeny, Altoona, Carlisle and Norwalk, have an incorrect belief that their Will determines who will inherit all of their assets. Many assets do not pass under a person’s Will. For example, life insurance policies and retirement accounts are typically paid on death to the persons named on the various beneficiary designations on file with the companies. Also, accounts titled as “transfer on death” or “payable on death” will also pass on death to the beneficiaries named on the accounts. Finally, assets which are

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