Changes to the 2015 Iowa Probate Code - Authority of Representative to Get Financial Details

One of the convenient & powerful changes to the Iowa Probate Code from the 2015 legislative session involved the authority of a court-appointed representative to get information or access to financial information or assets.  Iowa Code section 633.78 was revised to give both the representative and the financial institution the necessary authority and protection in dealing with assets.

Okay, that was enough of a legal mouthful.  If you want a bigger mouthful, you can read the bill that was signed by Governor Branstad.  This was a bill that was drafted and sponsored by the Probate Section of the Iowa State Bar Association.  Another great job by the Section.

To give you an example of how this is useful, let's assume that you are the executor of an estate, or you represent the executor.  And assume that you believe that decedent owned an account at a financial institution, or that you know for a fact that they owned an account at the institution.  The  executor has certain duties to (1) identify and account for assets and (2) distribute the property to the proper parties.  But what if the financial institution isn't exactly cooperative with providing information or access about the decedent's accounts?  After all, we are in the age of scams and paranoia over identity theft.  Well, section 633.78 comes to the rescue in that you now have very clear authority in dealing with that account.  Should the financial institution continue to be resistant, they can be held responsible for damages and attorney fees.  Additionally, the financial institution is also protected in providing that information or account to you. Everybody wins!

You might wonder just how after something like this is useful.  Well, in the past 26 days that the law has been in effect, I've used it one time and I'm getting ready to use it in another matter if we continue to have difficulties in getting cooperation.  I would say that is a pretty quick and useful history already.


Unknown said…
Great work, ISBA probate section and thanks, Matt!

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