New Law in Iowa Involving Joint Ownership Designation and Deeds

Effective January 1, 2015, a new law will go into effect that can be effective and useful in several situations.

Deeds with married couple, joint tenants or survivor language - As I've written before, there can be issues (and have been many issues) where the way ownership of real property is listed on the deed can have serious impact on estate plan.  Tenants-in-common, joint tenants with full rights of survivorship, etc.  It used to be if you had a deed that transferred ownership to two or more people (such as a couple) without the magic language of "joint tenants with full rights of survivorship and not as tenants-in-common" it was presumed to be tenants-in-common which can have a significant different intended result.  Soon, that will no longer be true.  NOW, straight from the Iowa legislature, that rule is changed. Iowa Code §557.15 will soon provide that IF a deed fits under any of the following descriptions: (a) identifies two grantees as married to each other at time of instrument; (b) says "joint tenants" or something similar; or (c) includes language such as "or their survivor", the presumption is that ownership is with full rights of survivorship and NOT as tenants-in-common.  This can be a significant benefit to property owners (in the future) that may be a little lax in using legal services.


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