Attorney fees in probating an estate of a deceased individual in the state of Iowa are set by the court. Pursuant to a state statute, the ceiling for fees is approximately 2%. Iowa Code section 633.198. While the statute states that it is the maximum, many Iowa attorneys treat it as the standard flat fee and will request - and often receive - fees based upon the 2% figure whether the amount of work equates to the 2% fee or not. Life insurance death benefits are not included when applying the 2% fee, but IRA's, 401k, jointly owned property, real estate, etc. are all included. If there is "extraordinary" services rendered, attorneys can also request extraordinary fees. Iowa Code sec. 633.199 . The statute sets out some examples of extraordinary services, such as sale of real estate, litigation and tax issues. Such fees are in addition to the ordinary 2% fees. An option to avoid paying attorney fees based on this flat rate system and approved by the court, whether the 2% o
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In Iowa, the fee for the executor is set by the court and is based upon a state statute. Their fee is also based upon the size of the estate, as reported on the inventory filed with the probate court . Iowa Code section 633.197 provides that the personal representative (executor or administrator) fee shall not exceed $220.00 for the first $5,000 of probate assets, and then 2% on all assets over $5,000.00. All assets of the estate are included in the fee determination, with the exception of life insurance payable to others. Any compensation received by a personal representative is taxable income to that individual. Thus, if a personal representative is a beneficiary, they may want to consider whether to waive their fee and thus increase their inheritance, which may be free of tax, or to take their compensation and pay income tax on that amount.
Iowa law limits the time period in which to administer an estate of an Iowa decedent. Iowa Code section 633.331. If an estate is not opened up within 5 years after death of the decedent, it will not be able to opened up. Iowa currently does not recognize any exception to this rule. What does that mean? If there is a will and you wait more than 5 years after death before doing anything, you've waiting too long. Good luck on the headaches of transferring any assets at that point. This doesn't mean that you always have to probate an estate, but if there are any possible assets that may need to be distributed, don't wait.