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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New Iowa Supreme Court Case on Prenuptial Agreements

iowa lawyer for prenuptual agreement

The Iowa Supreme Court issued an opinion on March 2, 2018, in the case of Erpelding v. Erpelding which found that a prenuptial agreement which waives an award of attorney fees regarding issues of child or spousal support adversely affects the right to support and are categorically prohibited by Section 596.5(2) of the Iowa Code.  Iowa Code Section 596.5(2) provides that the right of a spouse or child to support shall not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement. If you have questions or need more information concerning prenuptial agreements, please contact us through the contact page on our Web

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Understanding Pre-Need Funeral Arrangements

pre-funeral planning costs

This month’s article discusses the sale of pre-need funeral arrangements which are sold by funeral homes and cemeteries.  The contract is entered into whereby the customer selects the various features of a funeral and the various details regarding the final disposition of the body. Under Iowa law, such pre-need contracts can be cancelled by the customer within three days after signing the contract if you change your mind.  The contract can require either a lump sum payment or a series of installment payments.  If you elect to pay in installments, it is important to verify what happens in the event

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Estate, Gift and Generation Skipping Tax Provisions In The New Tax Act

estate planning tax law

This brief article will deal with the changes to the Estate, Gift and Generation Skipping Tax under the new tax law. The Act doubles the basic exclusion amount for estates of individuals who die during the 2018 through 2025 tax years and for gifts made during those same tax years.  The basic exclusion amount for each person increases from 5.6 million per person in 2017 to 11.2 million per person in 2018.  The amount of the exclusion will be indexed for inflation starting in tax year 2019. The Act does not repeal the estate, gift or generation skipping tax for

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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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Supreme Court Case on Iowa Inheritance Tax Exemptions

inheritance tax code iowa

The Iowa Supreme Court, on November 17, 2017, issued an opinion interpreting a definition utilized in an inheritance tax exemption.  The Court points out that for many years prior to 1997 the Iowa inheritance tax had an unlimited exemption for any share of the estate passing to the surviving spouse, limited exemptions for lineal descendants and lineal ascendants and no exemption for step-children.  In 1997, the Legislature eliminated inheritance tax on property passing to parents, grandparents, great grandparents, children, stepchildren, grandchildren and great grandchildren among others.  In 2003, the Legislature added a definition for “stepchild” which defined “stepchild” as the

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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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