Seventy-Year-Old Watershed Case Still Influences Improper Execution Lawsuits Today

Ever since the Iowa Supreme Court ruled In re Estate of Fordonski in 2004, estate dispute attorneys have received little news from the judiciary on improper execution trends—the deafening silence is most likely attributed to the Court telling us everything we needed to know about the issue back in 1950. Let’s now turn the clock back seventy years and consider …

Probate Litigators Reveal Document Drafting Secrets to Reduce Power of Attorney Abuse Risk

An essential part of your estate plan should involve assigning a power of attorney (POA) to someone you trust in case you ever become incapacitated. If drafted properly, the “attorney-in-fact” or “agent” you choose will step in and make financial, medical or legal decisions for you (the principal) and loyally serve the estate’s best interests concurrently. Assigning POA fiduciary duties …

Stop Making Estate Accounting Mistakes and Start Reporting Like a Pro

The Iowa Supreme Court recently upheld an attorney disciplinary action and issued a reprimand for “not keeping clients reasonably informed” by neglecting to offer beneficiaries accurate estate accounting reports. This holding has sent a powerful “YES” response to the many Iowa fiduciaries out there who still debate whether heirs have a statutory right to receive full estate accounting disclosures. The …

How to Evaluate an Undue Influence Case Like A Pro

Many folks are curious about how estate dispute attorneys test undue influence lawsuits and how they determine whether circumstances are practical enough to bring an action to trial. After litigating and defending hundreds of undue influence claims for more than a decade, the counselors at iowaprobatelitigaton.com have learned that some undue influence claims are just not worth pursuing even when …

What Everybody Ought to Know Before Co-Owning Property in Joint Tenancy

Are joint tenant assets really safe from probate proceedings? The Court of Appeals of Iowa says yes and no in an opinion handed down earlier this year—but let’s talk about that in a minute. First, let’s explore whether joint tenancy is risk free and fully protects the surviving tenant’s ownership title. The Ups and Downs of Co-Ownership Joint tenancy with rights …

Thousands of Iowa Executors Are Avoiding Fiduciary Removal Proceedings Through Open Communication With Beneficiaries

Many times, executors don’t join forces with beneficiaries while performing their probate duties, causing discord among successors about how to settle the estate. Parties often work out their issues without court interference, but if their disconnect reaches a standstill, the estate suffers winding down delays, and the heirs might seek to remove or replace the fiduciary who they believe is …

Warning: Confidential Relationship Precedent in Iowa Will Dispute Litigation May Change

The Iowa courts may soon follow a recent trend in will dispute precedent law after the Court of Appeals of Tennessee laid down new grounds in which will challengers can establish a presumption of undue influence through evidence of indirect confidential relationships. Step Children Allegedly Hijack Inheritance [In re Estate of Ida Lucille Land (2019)] In 1986, ninety-year-old Ms. Land …