Iowa Estate Plan

Information on estate planning and probate from an Iowa attorney.

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A recent ruling from the Iowa Court of Appeals addressed gifts from a parent (now deceased) to a trusted child.  Applying the standard involving “confidential relationships” and gifts during life, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed that the recipient of the gifts was required to return the gifts received during mom’s life back to her estate. Quick facts:  Mom and dad had four kids.  Dad passed away a few years ago and one of the…
First and foremost, I don’t handle divorces and won’t go further with any divorce questions because my knowledge ends with that.  In 20+ years of practice, handling a divorce 20 years ago was good enough to put away those materials. But for those that have gone through a divorce, there is typically the question about how a divorce impacts your estate plan documents.  The Iowa legislators realize that many people don’t go through the process…
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…
You gotta love email.  In seconds, I can transmit a message around the globe to one person or to hundreds of people, or I can share a photo of my dog, Georgia.  Or you can email your parents’ attorney and tell the attorney what changes to make to your parents’ estate plan to exclude one of your siblings.  Whoops. In Estate of Boman, decided earlier this year, the on-going feud between two sisters and…
This past year, I had the opportunity to go skydiving. What a blast! I had wanted to skydive for a while so I was anxious to jump out. However,  when you are on the edge of the plane door, looking out at the ground several thousand feet below you, a slight pause is a natural feeling. Thinking about your possible demise can be unnerving. Similarly, sometimes doing your estate planning can have the same feeling. …
Adoption can be a wonderful thing.  My niece, in this picture, is adopted and she is a wonderful addition to our family.  However, adoption can have some funky applications in the estate planning world.  A recent ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court was interesting on a couple of issues involving an adoption: To avoid paying inheritance taxes for a bequest to a non-lineal descendant, a nephew was adopted by his aunt. Even though he was…
It is hard to believe that my oldest daughter is heading off to college this week at Drake University.  I’m excited for her as she starts this next journey in her life.  In addition to getting all of the necessary supplies, such as towels, laundry bags, books, pepper spray, etc., it is also important that parents of college-bound kids have the kids sign power of attorney documents.  While we may still think of…
Not every marriage works out.  Duh.  Sometimes, after one ends, another marriage begins and several challenges begin.  You have the challenges of “mixing” families together, learning about snoring patterns, and discovering a new person.  You also frequently have the challenge of dealing with estate planning.  I’ll skip the issues with snoring and focus on some of the estate planning points. If you are smart…and brave…bring up the subject of a premarital agreement (or a “prenup”…
A financial advisor recently reached out to me regarding the impact of a Power of Attorney document concerning financial matters.  In particular, the question was whether the person signing the document (the “principal”) loses any power or authority once they sign the POA document.  As a reminder, the default rule (and recommended direction in my opinion) is that the agent’s power is immediate upon signing.  In other words, it is not necessary to…
A common issue that pops up with family members after someone dies is “do we need to go through probate?”   To answer that question, there are series of follow-up questions to be answered first.  To start the process, you should have a list of the assets in front of you and go through a “filter” process of the following questions. Question 1: Is there a named beneficiary for the assets?  Do any/all of the…