State of Iowas Probate property qeustion – Please help!

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State of Iowas Probate property qeustion – Please help!

My Dad passed away without a will and owned a home solely in his name. My Stepmom has opened probate and wants to place it in her name only and continue living there until she sells it. She says she will then put the home in her own will and my brother and I will have to “wait our turn for it or any proceedsfrom it till she dies.” Can she do this?

Asked on May 30, 2009 under Estate Planning, Iowa

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

That depends.  I'm not an Iowa lawyer, but my research suggests that if there's more than $50,000 in the estate, including equity in the house and any personal property, she has to share.  That, in turn, gives you some rights.

Exactly what you should do depends on all of the facts, and you need to review the situation with your own attorney, as soon as possible.  One place to find a lawyer is our website, http://attorneypages.com

Between you and your brother, on the one side, and your stepmom on the other, to simplify what the law looks like on the internet, she gets half or $50,000, whichever is greater.  That doesn't mean she gets to take the house as her own, unless there's at least that much value in other property that could be distributed to you.  As the personal representative of the estate, she has to follow that law, not her own best interests, and if she tries to do anything else, you should be able to go to court to stop her.


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