Appeal Untimely, But Evidence Insufficient to Show That Donations for Decedent Should Have Been Part of Estate.

In this case, the decedent was a 53-year-old mother of two who died of brain cancer. Four days before her death, her friends and family held a benefit auction for the purpose of raising money to assist the decedent with medical expenses. The auction raised $5,174, but none of the money was placed in the decedent’s control before she died. The companies in charge of the auction thus donated the money to charity as a memorial to the decedent. In his final report to the court, the decedent’s executor (her brother) did not include the benefit money as part of the estate’s assets. Her sons objected to the final report on that basis, but the district court overruled their objections. The sons filed their notice of appeal one day late, and the court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal. Nonetheless, the court stated that the claims would have failed on the merits. There was insufficient evidence presented by the sons, the court said, to show that the donors intended their donations to be present “gifts” to the decedent. In re Estate of Braner, No. 13-1014, 2014 Iowa App. LEXIS 417 (Iowa Ct. App. Apr. 16, 2014).    

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