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Cindy Q

am I entitled to assets?

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Hello, I can't afford an attorney and did not no where to go with this question.

 

My mother passed away Nov. 1st of this year, in the State of Iowa. Survivors include 4 children and her husband (my step-father). The step-father is the administrator of the estate. We thought that mother had a will, but her bank lock box didnt have one in it.

 

Anyway, 3 of the kids in the family never got along with mother, and she always promised me the $75,000 that sits in her savings account (this account is in her name only)at her death. It was common knowledge amongst myself, mother and the step-father that I was to receive this money. Well, turns out  on this savings account that my mother left the beneficiary blank. I just assume that she never got around to going to bank and taking care of this.

 

I've had several conversations plus emails from my step-father acknowledging that I was always supposed to get this money.... promising me that the $75k in this account will go to me. Well, now he has done an 180 degree on this and wants the $75k included into the total worth of her estate, because of lack of will plus the beneficiary line on account left blank. 

 

My question is, step-dad has acknowledged verbally and through emails that It was my mothers wish and desire that I  was to receive the $75,000. Even though mother didn't have a will nor put a name down as a beneficiary of this money, do I have a claim for the entire $75,000?

 

thank you in advance

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Unfortunately, you do not have a claim.  Your stepfather has to administer this estate according to the law.  It's a shame that your mother did not take care of this provision while she was alive......

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Iowa law on the issue

 

633.212 Share of surviving spouse if decedent left issue some of whom are not issue of surviving spouse.

If the decedent dies intestate leaving a surviving spouse and leaving issue some of whom are not the issue of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse shall receive the following share:

1. One-half in value of all the legal or equitable estates in real property possessed by the decedent at any time during the marriage, which have not been sold on execution or by other judicial sale, and to which the surviving spouse has made no relinquishment of right.

2. All personal property that, at the time of death, was in the hands of the decedent as the head of a family, exempt from execution.

3. One-half of all other personal property of the decedent which is not necessary for the payment of debts and charges.

4. If the property received by the surviving spouse under subsections 1, 2 and 3 of this section is not equal in value to the sum of fifty thousand dollars, then so much additional of any remaining homestead interest and of the remaining real and personal property of the decedent that is subject to payment of debts and charges against the decedent’s estate, after payment of the debts and charges, even to the extent of the whole of the net estate, as necessary to make the amount of fifty thousand dollars.

[C51, §1410; R60, §2495; C73, §2455; C97, §3379; S13, §3379, 3381-a; C24, 27, 31, 35, 39, §12017; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, §636.32; C66, 71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 81, §633.212]

85 Acts, ch 19, §2

 

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/ico/chapter/633.pdf

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This website has links to resources for Iowa residents who need a lawyer but who might not be able to afford legal services.  Perhaps one of the services linked there will be useful to you.

https://www.iowafindalawyer.com/guide/57bc9b8ee4a99439370000dd/Low-Income-Legal-Assistance-Resources

 

However, I think that Knort4's conclusion is correct -- unless the promise was reflected in a will or by naming you as a pay-on-death beneficiary, the account would be considered part of the estate. But consulting with an Iowa lawyer to confirm this, and to review the correspondence and other relevant documents and any other relevant facts that you may have left out of your post, would be a good idea.

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3 hours ago, Cindy Q said:

The step-father is the administrator of the estate. We thought that mother had a will, but her bank lock box didnt have one in it.

 

Just to be clear -- you're saying your stepfather was appointed by the court to be the administrator of the estate, and probate was opened for an intestate estate (i.e., an estate without a will).  Correct?

 

 

3 hours ago, Cindy Q said:

Anyway, 3 of the kids in the family never got along with mother, and she always promised me the $75,000 that sits in her savings account (this account is in her name only)at her death. It was common knowledge amongst myself, mother and the step-father that I was to receive this money. Well, turns out  on this savings account that my mother left the beneficiary blank. I just assume that she never got around to going to bank and taking care of this.

 

Since she never designated a beneficiary, the money is part of her estate, and anything she said while she was alive about what she wanted to happen with the money is legally meaningless.

 

 

3 hours ago, Cindy Q said:

I've had several conversations plus emails from my step-father acknowledging that I was always supposed to get this money.... promising me that the $75k in this account will go to me. Well, now he has done an 180 degree on this and wants the $75k included into the total worth of her estate, because of lack of will plus the beneficiary line on account left blank.

 

He should not have made the promise because it was a promise he could not legally keep (unless he and your mother's three other children all agreed, but even then, the money could be needed for estate debt).

 

 

3 hours ago, Cindy Q said:

My question is, step-dad has acknowledged verbally and through emails that It was my mothers wish and desire that I  was to receive the $75,000. Even though mother didn't have a will nor put a name down as a beneficiary of this money, do I have a claim for the entire $75,000?

 

No.

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