Showing posts from 2018

Effect of Divorce in Iowa Estate Planning: Do I Need to Change My Will to Keep My Ex Away?

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 to update their estate plans after a divorce, so they have implemented a series of code sections throughout the Iowa Code that essentially provide that if you get a divorce, any provisions that provide for your beloved "ex" are ignored.  Those various code sections are consolidated here to help you sleep a little easier at night: Iowa Code section 598.20A provides that if you list your ex-spouse (or relatives of your ex-spouse) as your beneficiary of life insurance, that designation is ignored. Iowa Code section 598.20B

Avoiding Probate Just Got a Little Easier...For Certain Estates

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 person owned real estate, the affidavit doesn't work. If the dead person owned other types of property that all together total more than $50,000, the affidavit doesn't work. You still have to pay inheritance taxes , if any are due. You still have to pay the creditors, if any. You still have to pay the state back for any Medicaid debts due. Otherwise, you use the affidavit to transfer those small estates. Here's a common scenario where the affidavit could be used: John Smith passes away.  When he died, he owned his truck, lived in an