Applying Decades Of Experience To Solve Modern Legal Issues

Supportive Guidance For The Probate Process

Probate needs to be handled efficiently to preserve the value of an estate. At Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP, our lawyers have helped clients navigate the probate process since 1952.

Under Iowa law, an estate must remain open for four months. During this time, creditors may file claims against the estate. Iowa law does not impose an inheritance tax on assets passed to lineal descendants and ascendants.

Probate requires the prompt completion of many tasks. Our probate attorneys handle all of these tasks, including:

  • Publication in a newspaper
  • Written notice to creditors
  • Inventories filed with the court
  • Assuring titles of real estate pass properly

We also assist with other issues, such as:

  • Income tax issues
  • Federal estate tax issues
  • Trust matters

Any legal issue that has to do with you and your family can be complex for all parties involved. Our lawyers also regularly handle probate and estate matters in Nebraska. The lawyers at Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP, of Council Bluffs, offer you the care and compassion you need while we fight for you.

We Have Answers To Your Questions About Probate

For many, probate is an unfamiliar process. Whether planning your estate for a smooth probate process for your loved ones or taking a loved one’s estate through probate, you may find yourself with more questions than answers. Here are answers to some of the questions we receive most often.

Who needs to go through probate?

In Iowa, anyone who dies without a will or with a will that is not valid will need to go through probate. This is also true for people who die with a will, but their estate is worth more than $100,000.

What happens during probate?

The first step in probate is to appoint a personal representative. The personal representative is responsible for managing the estate and carrying out the deceased person’s wishes. The personal representative will then need to inventory the assets of the estate, pay the debts and distribute the assets to the heirs.

How long does probate take?

The length of time it takes to go through probate can vary depending on the complexity of the estate. However, probate typically takes about 6-12 months to complete.

Can I avoid probate?

One way to avoid probate is to create a living trust. A living trust is a legal entity that holds your assets while you are alive and after you die. This means that your assets will not pass through probate when you die.

Preparing For Probate

While each case is unique, there are a few things you can do to get ready for the probate process, including:

  • Gathering the deceased person’s will: If the deceased person had a will, it is important to locate it and have it reviewed by an attorney.
  • Identifying the deceased person’s assets: This includes real estate, personal property, bank accounts, investments and any other assets that the deceased person owned.
  • Filing the deceased person’s death certificate: The death certificate is a legal document that proves that the deceased person has died. It is necessary to file the death certificate with the appropriate government agencies.
  • Appointing a personal representative: The personal representative is the person who will be responsible for handling the deceased person’s estate. The personal representative is typically named in the deceased person’s will.
  • Opening an estate account: An estate account is a bank account used to hold the deceased person’s assets during the probate process.
  • Paying the deceased person’s debts: The personal representative is responsible for paying the deceased person’s debts. This includes credit card debt, medical bills and any other debts the deceased person owes.
  • Distributing the deceased person’s assets: Once the deceased person’s debts have been paid, the personal representative is responsible for distributing the deceased person’s assets to their heirs.

This is just a short checklist of the steps involved in probate. The specific steps involved will vary depending on the individual circumstances. If you are facing probate, you should contact an attorney who can help you understand your options and navigate the process.

Intestate Proceedings

If a person passes away without a will, John A. Flaten, an attorney in our office, can handle proceedings for intestate succession, including determining how assets are divided.

Business Succession

If a person dies with an interest in a business, transfer of the business may need to be handled through probate. Our attorneys work closely with clients to ensure that the company may continue to operate during the probate administration.

Contact Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP

If you are named as an executor of an estate, contact our probate lawyers for assistance. We will work closely with you and assist you with the probate process. Contact us online or call our office in Council Bluffs at 712-309-3738.