In this article...

In this article, we discuss ways that you can simplify the process of a property going into probate. This can include the following:  

  • Small Estate Simple Affidavits
  • Simplified Probate in Iowa

In Iowa, there are laws that allow some shortcuts through probate for small size estates. These rules make it easier for surviving family members to transfer property left by the deceased. In many circumstances, you may be able to transfer a majority of property using simple procedures, avoiding probate court all together, by using an affidavit. This saves everybody time, money and additional hassle.

In this article, we discuss ways that you can simplify the process of a property going into probate. This can include the following:  

  • Small Estate Simple Affidavits
  • Simplified Probate in Iowa

Small Estate Simple Affidavits

Iowa has procedures to allow those inheriting property to skip probate all together if the value of the assets left by the deceased is below a certain sum. If they meet the threshold, all someone inheriting property will need to do is have an affidavit drafted stating that they are entitled to a certain asset. The affidavit must state that the following amounts were paid or will be paid from the assets received:

  • Debt owed to the Iowa Department of Human Services for benefits the deceased person received;
  • Taxes due to the Iowa Department of Revenue;
  • Debts owed to any creditors.

Once this document is executed, the person inheriting the property will be able to go to the person or institution holding the property (for example, the bank where the deceased had the bank account), provide the affidavit and the death certificate, and the property will be released to them.  

This process is only available in Iowa if there is no real estate and the gross value of the decedent’s assets is under $50,000.  Additionally, there is a 40-day waiting period after the decedent's passing before the affidavits can be filed. For more information, see Iowa Code 633.356.

Simplified Probate in Iowa

Iowa also has a simplified probate process for small estates. To qualify, the executor must file a written request with the local probate court requesting the simplified procedure. The court will then look over the estate documents and determine whether the assets can be distributed with the simplified process.  

In Iowa, the simplified estate process can be used if the gross value of the estate is under $100,000. The request must include the following information:

  • The decedents name, address, and date of passing;
  • The name and address of the surviving spouse, if applicable;
  • The name and relationship of each person inheriting property;
  • Whether there was a will and, if applicable, the date the will was executed;
  • The name and address of the personal representative;
  • A statement showing the gross estate is $100,000 or less.  

See Iowa Code 635.2 for more information regarding simplified probates.

Posted 
February 19, 2021
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