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Council Bluffs Law Blog

Disposal of Remains

Sometimes, there are stressful situations if family members can't agree on the disposition of the decedent's remains or other funeral arrangements. Iowa law allows one to sign a declaration that designates a person to have the sole responsibility for making decisions concerning final disposition of remains (e.g. burial, interment or cremation) and the ceremonies to be performed after death. It cannot, however, contain directives for final disposition of remains or for ceremonies to be performed after death.

Virtual Visitation - A New Method for Spending Time with your Children

In our world, people move around quickly. This can have an impact on families that do not reside together. "Virtual visitation" has become an area of growth in recent years for many families. The courts have become increasingly willing to order some form of virtual visitation to families that are not in close proximity. The most popular type of virtual visitation has taken the form of utilizing Facetime, which is an Apple product that allow the parties to engage in real time visitation. Both parties must, however, possess Apple products. In addition, other video conferencing sites such as Viper, Skype and Google Hangouts, all of which are free, allow the visitation parent to readily have "virtual visitation" with the minor child. From a legal perspective, it is imperative that you discuss with your attorney the need for such visitation and implement same in any final order the court may enter. Distance does not have to completely impact your visitation any longer.


There are usually no restrictions on the number of bankruptcy cases a person can file unless a bankruptcy court orders otherwise. However, if your debts were discharged in a previous bankruptcy, you will not be entitled to a discharge again before the expiration of a certain period of time.

Estate Planning for New Families

Whether by birth or adoption, the addition of a child to the family structure is typically an exhilarating time for parents. An important item for a growing family to consider at this time is the preparation of a will. Several young parents neglect to engage in estate planning for one reason or another. Specifically, certain parents are under the impression that they do not have sufficient assets to warrant making a will. Moreover, nobody prefers to think about their own mortality so the majority of parents avoid discussing the topic altogether. Nonetheless, it is paramount to determine who will care for your children should an unforeseen fatal accident occur. A properly crafted will gives parents the power to designate who will be legally and financially responsible for their minor children.


When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, it is important to promptly get their financial affairs in order and to familiarize yourself with their financial affairs. One area that should not be overlooked is passwords. It is important that you identify all passwords used by your loved one while they are still able to assist you in this effort. Possible passwords might include the following: computers, laptops and tablets, bank accounts, online bill-paying systems, ATM cards, credit cards, brokerage accounts, retail or seller accounts (eBay, Amazon, etc.), voice-mail accounts, email accounts, home-security systems, computer-security systems, entry gate at gated communities or storage facilities, keyless-entry locks, cell-phone locks.


In Wellness International Network, Ltd., et al. v. Sharif, the United States Supreme Court ruled that bankruptcy judges have the power to adjudicate certain claims if all parties knowingly and voluntarily consent. In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court reversed a Seventh Circuit holding that the bankruptcy court did not have constitutional authority to decide whether certain property belonged to the bankruptcy estate because the dispute also involved state law issues. The Supreme Court found that Article III of the Constitution permits bankruptcy judges to make final judgments so long as those involved consent. Justice Sotomayor, writing for the Court, said "Adjudication based on litigant consent has been a consistent feature of the federal court system since its inception." TheWellness decision marks the third time in the last four years that the Supreme Court has decided questions relating to the power of the bankruptcy court.

Pricey mistakes when paying off credit card debt in Iowa

As many Iowa residents with high credit card debt know, figuring out how to pay it off can seem like an insurmountable challenge. With wages stagnating and the cost of living rising every year, it can seem difficult enough to get by, let alone get out of debt.  Luckily, there are options to get help people get out of credit card debt. However, some of these options might actually be more expensive in the long run.

This is the perfect time for Iowa residents with credit card debt to explore their options and pay their debt down, as the Federal Reserve is set to raise interest rates at some point this year. There are many avenues that people could take to do this. Some consider balance transfer offers from credit card companies to be the best option, as many offer 0 percent interest on balance transfers. There are many of these offers currently, but that number will surely decrease as the Fed begins to raise rates.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may help seniors in Iowa protect assets

Many Iowa residents face financial setbacks at some point or another in their lives. Some setbacks are easier than others to bounce back from, but as people get older and their finances are in arrears, it can be difficult to recover. Considering credit card debt, mortgages, medical expenses or divorce, there are a number of ways that seniors can run into financial difficulties. When these debts spiral out of control, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be just what the person needs to get back in control of his or her finances.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidates some of a person's assets in order to repay creditors. This allows people to reset their finances. However, certain exceptions do exist: student loans, alimony, child support, as well as federal tax bills that are less than three years old cannot be discharged. Moreover, dealing with bankruptcy's stigma often prevents people from filing soon enough. This can hurt people in the long run, especially seniors -- as they continue to spend their retirement assets, they initiate a downward financial spiral that could be more difficult to recover from than a younger person in the same precarious financial situation.

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Telpner, Peterson, Smith, Ruesch, Thomas & Simpson, LLP
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Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Toll Free: 800-726-5695
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Phone: 712-309-3738
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