Resolving Fiduciary Litigation Matters And Accessing The Courts During a Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic first reached our state back in March 2020, the Iowa Supreme Court suspended all in-person fiduciary litigation proceedings and proscribed attorneys from filing new probate lawsuits. The Court thereafter allowed estate dispute trials to move forward under restrictive conditions, but in September, ordered fiduciary litigators to conduct their civil court business remotely until summer 2021 at …

Everything You Need To Know About Removing and Replacing Trustees

Irrevocable and revocable trusts are estate planning instruments that can offer grantors confidentiality, probate avoidance and massive tax advantages for as long as the trustee chosen performs his/her job well. Most settlors do their homework before appointing a fiduciary to manage their assets for designated beneficiaries. But regardless of how hard one works to make the right choice, there’s always …

New Trends ln Probate Litigation: Iowa’s Rising Tortious Interference With Inheritance Claims

We’ve been hearing a lot of tortious interference with inheritance news coming from the Iowa Court of Appeals over the last three years—an indicator that this relatively unfamiliar area of estate law is trending. In 2019 alone, the Court ruled in six cases where beneficiaries had brought actionable claims after probate closed to hold wrongdoers responsible for intentionally looting their …

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 …