Iowa Wills, Trusts, and Probate
Mapping out a plan for the distribution of your assets after your death can be a poignant experience, and one that many people try to avoid. However, a coherent estate plan is necessary to protect your loved ones after your death. An estate plan may include the following documents: a trust, a will, a healthcare surrogate designation, an advanced care directive, and/or a durable power of attorney.
Update your estate documents whenever major changes occur in your life to make sure that your estate plan accurately reflects your most up to date desires. It is imperative that no matter what your monetary or familial circumstances, you revise your estate documents.
Contact an Iowa estate planning attorney if you have questions about drafting a durable estate plan and want to relax, knowing that your estate plan is adequate for your needs.
To ensure that your assets are dispersed as you would like, follow the legal wording requirements for a will in Iowa, and make sure that all the will formalities are met, such as:
Even though it is not required in Iowa, you should consider having your witnesses sign an affidavit in front of a notary swearing that they witnessed the testator sign his will, and signed the will themselves. If your witnesses sign such an affidavit, you will have a self-proving will. Having a self-proving will can simplify the probate process because your original witnesses will not have to be found and made to attest to the will in court. Instead, the will could be automatically admitted to probate. You should consult an Iowa will lawyer with any questions or conerns.
Changing a Will in Iowa
To cancel or modify your old will, you may:
Either way you choose to alter your will, make sure that you follow the appropriate legal formalities for a will in Iowa. You must have witnesses and the new will must be signed. Talk to an Iowa wills attorney when you change your old will or make a new one.
Trusts in Iowa provide flexible vehicles for allocating your assets after your death. Fewer taxes are associated with trusts, and they allow you to circumvent probate. In addition, there are several kinds of trusts, including life insurance, charitable, educational, and special needs. You may also design your trust to be either revocable or irrevocable. Consult an Iowa trusts attorney about setting up the kind of trust that is right for you.
In Iowa, property accounted for in a will must go through the probate process. But, if any property is not specifically left to a particular person in the will, or if the deceased does not leave a will, the property will be dispensed according to intestate succession. This means that Iowa probate law will decide how the property should be disbursed based on each person’s proximity of blood relationship to the deceased.
If assets pass by intestate succession, or if assets are ambiguously distributed in a will, potential beneficiaries of the estate may petition the court for a decision on the correct distribution of the property.
Iowa Summary Administration procedures are possible if you seek to avoid the probate process. To use Summary Administration procedures, your estate cannot exceed $50,000 if your spouse or child petitions the court for their use. However, if one of your parents or your grandchildren petition, your estate cannot be worth more than $15,000 to use the summary procedures. If a distant relative petitions, Summary Administration procedures may only be used if the estate is worth less than $10,000.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of persons each of whom may have a proprietary interest in property that passes by intestate succession, based on his or her relationship with the deceased:
Not all property passes through probate. For instance: non-probate assets, contract assets (i.e.-life insurance policies, living trusts, and IRAs), and/or jointly held property (i.e.-joint bank accounts, shared homes, or cars) may not be subject to the probate process.
Talk to an Iowa probate lawyer if you are concerned that your will may be disputed. Wills may be disputed long after their creation.
Iowa Statutes, Title 15 – Probate Code