Currently in Iowa, if a decedent owns personal property that totals $25,000 or less, and that property would normally pass under a Will or the intestate statute, you can skip probate with just an affidavit. The governor recently signed a bill that increased that figure up to $50,000 (for deaths after July 1, 2018), along with a few extra new additions to the affidavit.
So…what does that mean lawyer boy? This:
- If the dead person owned real estate, the affidavit doesn’t work.
- If the dead person owned other types of property that all together total more than $50,000, the affidavit doesn’t work.
- You still have to pay inheritance taxes, if any are due.
- You still have to pay the creditors, if any.
- You still have to pay the state back for any Medicaid debts due.
- Otherwise, you use the affidavit to transfer those small estates.
Here’s a common scenario where the affidavit could be used:
There are different examples where this affidavit could be used (some even include scenarios where the decedent has a multi-million dollar estate) to transfer assets that: (1) don’t have a beneficiary listed or (2) don’t have a joint owner, but (3) total less than the $50,000. When you are talking about minimum probate fees in the $2,000 range and timeframe of 7 months to a year or more, this could be an opportunity to simplify the process, shorten the time, and save funds.
Before you try to do this on your own (which you can…but you can do a lot of stuff on your own, like surgery, but that doesn’t mean you should) visit with a Trusts and Estates Iowa attorney to walk you through the steps and save yourself some time and frustration.