What happens if I die without a Will in Iowa?
In Iowa, if you die without a valid Will, your property becomes subject to Iowa probate laws. This is also referred to as having died intestate. The distribution of your property and assets will be based on Iowa law, rather than what you may have desired, and divided among your heirs as discussed further below.
Iowa law provides that if you die with a surviving spouse and no children or if you die with a surviving spouse and children that were also the children of that surviving spouse, then your entire estate passes to your surviving spouse. If you die with no surviving spouse, then your estate passes to your children. If you die with no spouse or children, then your entire estate passes to your parents equally; and if either parent is deceased, then the portion that would have gone to such deceased parent will go to the other parent. Iowa’s probate laws provide additional detail if none of the above situations apply to you or if you die without any living relatives.
By creating a Will prior to your death, you are able to control where and how your property and assets are to be distributed at your death. A Will may also allow you to avoid taxes that may have otherwise applied to your estate. Also, of particular significance if you have any minor children, a Will allows you to specify who will be the guardian for your minor children and the trustee for their assets.
For more information or if you have any questions about creating or revising your Will or Estate Plan, feel free to contact the Crimmins & Kehm Law Firm at 515-573-2191.