Iowa Probate Estate

What is the process for probating a Will in Iowa? If you are an executor of a deceased person’s Will, research your rights and obligations.

Who may request probate?

Any ‘interested person’ may petition the district court to probate the deceased’s Iowa Last Will & Testament 633.290. Interested persons include a spouse, beneficiaries named in the Will and heirs.

How do I start probate?

You need to file a verified petition in the district court of the proper county. The petition can ask for either or both:

  • To have the Iowa Will admitted to probate;
  • To appoint an executor. 633.290

What happens next?

The court may either determine the petition upon filing or set down a hearing date and time. The court may require notice of the hearing to be given. 633.293

Who is the executor?

The person named in the Iowa Will. However, if that person is unable or unwilling to act, then the court may appoint some other person. The order of preference is a beneficiary under the Will, a person nominated by the beneficiaries, a creditor of the decedent or such other person as the court determines to be qualified. 633.294

Witness Testimony

If the Iowa Last Will is self-proved then it may be admitted to probate without testimony of witnesses. 633.279 Otherwise, one or more witnesses need to give proof of execution by oral or written testimony. The requisite wording of the affidavit is provided by the statute. 633.295

The Probate Order

Once the court is provided with proof, it may admit the Iowa Last Will and Testament to probate. If there is insufficient proof, probate is disallowed 633.298. If probate is granted, the order generally also appoints an executor. 633.299

Notice Requirements

Once probate is given, the executor is required to give notice of the probate of the Iowa Will by publication and ordinary mail as required under section 633.304. If probate was granted without administration at the time, then the clerk of court gives notice to all interested persons pursuant to section 633.305.

Iowa Estate Tax

Inheritance tax in Iowa is calculated on each person’s share of the estate. This is unlike the federal estate tax, which is based on the entire estate. To determine how much inheritance tax is payable, refer to the inheritance tax rate schedule which is published by Iowa Department of Revenue. A return does not need to be filed when all assets pass to a surviving spouse, lineal ascendants or descendants, legally-adopted children and/or stepchildren (unless the estate is obliged to file a federal estate tax return). The Iowa Department of Revenue will not issue a clearance. If the estate must file, use Form IA 706 Iowa Inheritance/Estate Tax Return.

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