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Iowa Probate Claims Explained

Article written by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
January 7, 2020

In this article, we will address Iowa probate claims. Our Iowa probate attorneys will answer:

  • What is probate litigation in Iowa?
  • What is the deadline to file a probate claim in Iowa?
  • How to file a probate claim in Iowa

What Is Probate Litigation in Iowa?

There are many issues that can make litigation necessary during probate. These include:

Will contest

If a will is suspected to be invalid, it can be challenged by a trustee, beneficiary, or other interested party with legal grounds.

Guardianship contests

If guardianship wasn’t clear at the time of a testator’s death, it must be determined through probate litigation. This could refer to guardianship of an individual or an estate.

Probate claim

If a decedent passes with debt, his estate is responsible for paying them. However, the estate only has to pay for these debts if a credit makes a claim for the money while the estate is in probate. These claims must be properly filed to be validated by the court.

All cases of probate litigation require a petitioner to come forward, file a claim, and any substantial evidence. The burden of proof will always fall upon the petitioner in probate litigation.

What Is the Deadline to File a Probate Claim in Iowa?

Probate is often a long and drawn out process, but this doesn’t mean a claim can be brought against an estate at any time. In Iowa, a challenge to a trust or will must be brought against an estate within two years after the testator’s death. 

There are additional limitations to be aware of as well:

  • There is no limit to disputes within a will or trust if a testator is still living. The clock on the statute of limitations does not start until after the testator’s passing.
  • If a will isn’t found until several years after a testator’s passing, it can still be filed into probate once found.
  • If an heir or interested party is a minor when a will it put into probate, they are unable to challenge because of their age. Once they reach the age of majority, they have two years to file a contest if desired.


In Iowa, a required series of notification steps must take place to complete the probate process. 


After filing for probate, the executor of the estate must publish notice in a local newspaper. The notice must run for a minimum of two consecutive weeks. After the second week, there is a four-month period in which creditors can file a claim in the estate. 

If notices have been mailed to heirs or other potentially interested parties, they have 30 days to file a probate claim in Iowa.

How to File a Probate Claim in Iowa

A probate claim is filed with the clerk of court. A form will be required that alerts the court of an estate claim. You will need to detail your claims to an estate’s assets and provide evidence of your rights. 

A claim needs to be filed with all the correct paperwork in the probate court located in the jurisdiction where the testator died, not where the decedent executed the will.

Notice of Disallowance of a Probate Claim in Iowa

Once a probate claim is filed with the court, the representative of the estate has the option to either allow the claim and pay it out of estate assets or disallow the claim.  Disallowing a claim is essentially disputing the validity of the claim.  If the representative disallows the claim, he or she will send notice of disallowance to the claimant and his or her attorney of record by certified mail.  


Probate Claims Litigation in Iowa

If the representative of an estate disallows a creditor’s claim, the claimant will then have the option to file a request for hearing form with the clerk.  Ultimately, a hearing will be held, following the Iowa rules of civil procedure.  At the hearing, the claimant and the estate representative will have the opportunity to present evidence for and against the validity of the claim.  The court will then determine whether the estate representative must pay the claim from the estate.

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