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Shaking Hands Lawyer and Old peoples

Do I need a will?  A will protects your assets of home, car, clothing, jewelry, heirlooms, bank accounts, 401k’s, investments of stocks, bonds, real estate.  Upon your death, the will insure that the persons or organizations you would like to receive the assets at the time of your death.  A will also states who you prefer to be the guardian and trustee of your children.

When should a will typically be revised?  The will should be reviewed periodically.  Most changes to a will occur when you get married or divorced, add a child to the family biologically or adopted, the individual to appointed to be the executor or trustee moves away or passes away, or if the value of your assets/property change dramatically.  

What happens to my belongings and assets if I pass away before I have a will?  It is not guaranteed that your spouse will receive all the assets upon your death.  It depends on if you had children from a previous relationship or if your spouse and yourself had children.  


If you did not have a spouse, but have living children, your children will inherit your entire estate.


If there is not a will and no living relatives, your assets and property go to the state of Iowa.

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What is probate? Probate is a court procedure that makes sure your assets are collected and any claims, debts and taxes are paid.  Then the person you appoint Executor of your estate carries out the wishes for your estate as stated in your will, including transfers of ownership of your assets after you die.  The Executor also has the authority to pursue any claims you may have against others who may owe money to you at the time of your death.

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Can probate be avoided?  Yes, there are ways to avoid probate, but that does not eliminate the payment of estate or inheritance taxes or debts to creditors.

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