Iowa Wills and Probate
Losing a spouse, parent, other family member, or close friend is one of the most difficult experiences most people ever face. But there is some comfort in knowing you are honoring your loved one’s wishes with respect to his or her property and other responsibilities. Unfortunately, the process of settling an estate can be tedious and time consuming, adding stress and frustration during a period when you are already bearing the weight of your grief.
Fortunately, you do not have to navigate the probate process on your own. Iowa wills and probate attorneys guide you through the maze of complex legal terminology, seemingly endless paperwork and petitions, court filings, tax returns and payments, asset inventory and protection, and more to ensure that your loved one’s estate is settled as closely as possible to his or her wishes.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the process by which the estate of a deceased person, the decedent, is settled. While we would like to believe it is as easy as it looks in scenes from television or movies where family members gather around and an attorney or an executor simply reads through the will and announces who inherits what—in a matter of minutes. But there is much more to it in real life than that. For starters, a will needs to be proven valid. There are notices and petitions to file, debts to settle, taxes to file and pay, and sometimes disputes to resolve as the work of distributing the estate gets under way.
Since these matters can often be complex and sensitive, it is important to make sure all the "i’s" are dotted and the "t’s" crossed so that nothing slips through the cracks. A single snag can be costly in both time and money, which is why partnering with someone who knows the ins and outs of how the probate process works in your state, like an Iowa probate attorney, is such a wise decision.
Do Iowa Wills Attorneys Just Prepare Wills?
Although it is often considered the cornerstone of estate planning, a traditional will is usually just one piece of the picture when it comes to mapping out how you would like your affairs to be handled in the event of your death or if you should become incapacitated. Iowa wills lawyers can also help you:
- Document end-of-life decisions. This may include drafting a living will or advance medical directive that states what medical interventions you might want or want to avoid under different circumstances, or naming a representative to legally make those critical care decisions for you should you be unable to make them for yourself.
- Strategize a plan for passing down assets that minimizes federal and state taxes. This may include coordinating with an accountant, tax attorney or other financial professional to optimize the value of your estate.
- Set up trusts. There are a number of different types of trusts that offer certain advantages, such as giving you more specific control over how and when money and other assets pass onto heirs, reducing taxes, and allowing assets to transfer outside of probate.
- Minimize and resolve estate disputes. During probate, the validity and fairness of a will may be contested. A knowledgeable will attorney can ensure your will is comprehensive and leaves little to no room for alternate interpretation. You can even include provisions addressing how disputes should be handled.
They can also make recommendations on how to find a will for a deceased family member. Of course, these are some services will lawyers provide. They can assist with the full spectrum of estate planning and probate administration.
Contact an Iowa Wills and Probate Lawyer Today
When it comes to planning for your family’s future or carrying out the last wishes of a dearly departed friend or family member, you want to be confident that you are doing all you can to ensure that nothing is overlooked and affairs are settled in an optimal fashion. Partnering with an attorney who specializes in these matters offers invaluable reassurance. Call now to speak with a wills and probate lawyer in Iowa at 877-913-7222.