Iowa Small Estates General Summary Law


Wills and Estates – Small Estates – Iowa

Small Estates General Summary: Small Estate laws were enacted in order to enable heirs to obtain property of the deceased without probate, or with shortened probate proceedings, provided certain conditions are met. Small estates can be administered with less time and cost. If the deceased had conveyed most property to a trust but there remains some property, small estate laws may also be available. Small Estate procedures may generally be used regardless of whether there was a Will. In general, the two forms of small estate procedures are recognized:

1. Small Estate Affidavit -Some States allow an affidavit to be executed by the spouse and/or heirs of the deceased and present the affidavit to the holder of property such as a bank to obtain property of the deceased. Other states require that the affidavit be filed with the Court. The main requirement before you may use an affidavit is that the value of the personal and/or real property of the estate not exceed a certain value.

2. Summary Administration Some states allow a Summary administration. Some States recognize both the Small Estate affidavit and Summary Administration, basing the requirement of which one to use on the value of the estate. Example: If the estate value is 10,000 or less an affidavit is allowed but if the value is between 10,000 to 20,000 a summary administration is allowed.

Iowa Summary:
Under Iowa statute, where as estate is valued at no more than $100,000, an interested party may issue a small estate affidavit to collect any debts owed to the decedent.

Iowa Requirements:
Iowa requirements are set forth in the statutes below.

635.1 When applicable.

When the gross value of the probate assets of a decedent subject to the jurisdiction of this state does not exceed one hundred thousand dollars, and upon a petition as provided in section 635.2 of an authorized petitioner in accordance with section 633.227, 633.228, or 633.290, the clerk shall issue letters of appointment for administration to the proposed personal representative named in the petition, if qualified to serve. Unless otherwise provided in this chapter, the provisions of chapter 633 apply to an estate probated pursuant to this chapter. 635.2 Petition requirements.

The petition for administration of a small estate must contain the following:

1. The name, domicile, and date of death of the decedent.

2. The name and address of the surviving spouse, if any.

3. Whether the decedent died intestate or testate, and, if testate, the date the will was executed.

4. A statement that the probate property of the decedent subject to the jurisdiction of this state does not have an aggregate gross value of more than the amount permitted under the provisions of section 635.1.

5. The name and address of the proposed personal representative.

635.7 Report and inventory — value and conversion.

1. The personal representative is required to file the report and inventory for which provision is made in section 633.361, including all probate and nonprobate assets. This chapter does not exempt the personal representative from complying with the requirements of section 422.27, 450.22, 450.58, 633.480, or 633.481, and the administration of an estate whether converted to or from a small estate shall be considered one proceeding pursuant to section 633.330.

2. If the inventory and report shows the gross value of probate assets subject to the jurisdiction of this state which exceed the amount permitted a small estate under section 635.1, the estate shall be administered as provided in chapter 633.

3. If the inventory report in an estate probated pursuant to chapter 633 indicates the gross value of the probate assets subject to the jurisdiction of this state does not exceed the amount permitted under section 635.1, the estate shall be administered as a small estate upon the filing of a statement by the personal representative that the estate is a small estate.

4. Other interested parties may convert proceedings from a small estate to a regular estate or from a regular estate to a small estate only upon good cause shown with approval from the court.

635.8 Closing by sworn statement

The personal representative shall file with the court a closing statement and proof of service thereof within a reasonable time from the date of issuance of the letters of appointment, and the closing statement shall be verified or affirmed under penalty of perjury, stating all of the following: a. To the best knowledge of the personal representative, the gross value of the probate assets subject to the jurisdiction of this state does not exceed the amount permitted under section 635.1.

b. The estate has been fully administered and will be disbursed and distributed to persons entitled to the estate if no objection is filed to the closing statement after the requisite time period has expired as provided in subsection 2.

c. A description of the disbursement and distribution of the estate including an accurate description of all the real estate of which the decedent died seized, stating the nature and extent of the interest in the real estate and its disposition.

d. A copy of the closing statement and an opportunity to object and request a hearing has been sent by proper notice, as provided in section 633.40, to all interested parties.

e. The personal representative has complied with all statutory requirements pertaining to taxes, including whether federal estate tax was paid or a return was filed, whether Iowa inheritance tax was paid or a return was filed, whether the decedent’s final personal income taxes were filed, whether fiduciary income tax returns for the estate were filed, and whether a lien continues to exist for any federal or state tax.

2. If no actions or proceedings involving the estate are pending in the court thirty days after notice of the closing statement is filed, the estate shall close after distribution and the personal representative shall be discharged.

3. The closing statement shall include a statement as to the amount of fees to be paid for services rendered by the personal representative and the personal representative’s attorney in administration of the estate. The fees for the personal representative shall not exceed three percent of the gross value of the probate assets of the estate, unless the personal representative itemizes the personal representative’s services to the estate. The personal representative’s attorney shall be paid reasonable fees as agreed to in writing by the personal representative at or before the time of filing the probate inventory or as approved by the court. All interested parties shall have the opportunity to object and request a hearing as to all fees reported in the closing statement.

4. If a closing statement is not filed within twelve months of the date of issuance of a letter of appointment, an interlocutory report shall be filed within such time period. Such report shall be provided to all interested parties at least once every six months until the closing statement has been filed unless excused by the court for good cause shown. A closing statement filed under this section has the same effect as final settlement of the estate under chapter 633.