Iowa Resources

 

 

We have written detailed reviews of Iowa law impacting agricultural producers and landowners. Access these reviews by clicking on the tiles below. You can also review Iowa cases on a particular subject by searching our list of Iowa case law reviews at the bottom of this page.

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To collect $106,898 of unpaid income taxes from the estate of Francis Glaser, the Iowa Department of Revenue (IDOR) sought to set aside Glaser’s predeath transfers of real estate to his friend. The Iowa Supreme Court held that fraudulent conveyances may only be voided to the extent necessary to pay the debts and charges of the estate. Iowa Code § 633.368. On remand, the friend argued that income taxes are not a debt of the estate. The Court of Appeals disagreed and found that the properties could be sold to satisfy the estate’s debts including IDOR’s claim. However, any remaining funds or unsold properties must be returned to the decedent’s friend.

A fence ran slightly north of the boundary line between two parcels of land. After the landowner of the northern parcel filed a petition for quiet title, the neighbor counterclaimed, alleging that a new boundary line was established through boundary by acquiescence. The district court agreed with the neighbor and ruled that a boundary by acquiescence had been established. In making its ruling, the court held that the simultaneous ownership of both parcels for three years by the person who sold the property to the landowner did not extinguish the pre-existing boundary by acquiescence.

June 15, 2023 | Jennifer Harrington

During Iowa’s 2023 Legislative Session that ended Thursday, May 4, legislators passed a number of bills impacting agricultural producers and rural landowners. Read more for a review of the highlights.

After the probate court set aside a 2016 will for lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence, the same executor submitted the decedent’s 2012 will to probate. A beneficiary under both wills claimed that the executor violated the 2012 will’s no-contest clause by submitting the 2016 will and also argued that the executor should be removed. The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed that the executor did not challenge the 2012 will directly or indirectly. It also held that the beneficiary failed to show that the executor was unsuitable and should be removed from her role.

An energy company began replacing a substantial portion of components in wind plants it owned and operated. However, the county assessor continued to value the property the same for property tax purposes. The energy company appealed the assessment and claimed that this “repowering” restarted the graduated tax valuation schedule under Iowa Code § 427B.26. Because the entire wind plant was not replaced, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed that the repowering project did not alter the property tax valuation.

A landowner brought a lawsuit against his neighbor claiming that his property experienced manure runoff after the neighbor applied manure on a nearby field. Because all the landowner’s claims stemmed from a nuisance allegation, the Court of Appeals determined that Iowa Code § 654B.3(1) applied. As such, the landowner was required to request farm mediation before filing the lawsuit. On March 8, 2023, the court affirmed the dismissal of the lawsuit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

On March 8, 2023, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the division of a farm partnership’s alleged assets and liabilities after the death of one of the business partners. With “scant” evidence, the Court of Appeals affirmed that the deceased partner took out a loan as an individual, not as a business partner. Additionally, the deceased partner’s estate was not entitled to the proceeds from the sale of the partnership’s farm equipment because it was sold at a loss.

With unclear terms and intentions, two parties attempted to negotiate the sale of a farm property. After both vacillated between moving forward and rescinding the agreement, the seller and the buyer petitioned the court for specific performance of the sale. On March 8, 2023, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s order of specific performance finding that the seller did not abandon his specific-performance claim.

April 28, 2023 | Jennifer Harrington

The Iowa Supreme Court affirmed that a lessee could exercise their renewal option under the rental contract by only giving written notice even though a later paragraph stated that the rental payment would be due when the renewal option was exercised. The court found that the structure of the agreement and renewal option paragraph made the rental payment a term of performance, not a condition precedent to exercising the renewal option.

The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the probate court’s allocation of attorney fees and court costs arising from litigation under which the trust received a $159,250 settlement. Pointing to a clause in the trust document stating that “administrative costs” were to be paid from the income generated by the trust, the trust’s remainder beneficiaries argued that the expenses should be paid solely from the trust income.

April 11, 2023 | Jennifer Harrington

The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of two neighboring landowners’ claims against each other in a water drainage dispute. For many years, the neighbors had argued about the proper flow of water, eventually using self-help techniques to control the water. The court found that the water flow prior to the self-help techniques determined the appropriate burdens between the parcels. However, it could not order injunctive relief for the dominant parcel because the trial court did not rule on that neighbor’s claim for injunctive relief.

The decedent passed away intestate in Belize. He owned real estate in both Polk County and Belize, several financial accounts, and a life insurance policy. The decedent’s adult daughter petitioned to open an estate in Polk County. His surviving spouse, who is not related to his daughter, filed a motion to dismiss the petition claiming that the decedent had lived in Belize for many years before his death and, as a result, the probate court lacked jurisdiction.

In a recent case, the Iowa Supreme Court considered whether Iowa’s tax-sale redemption notice procedures violated a landowner’s due process rights. The landowner argued that the law was unconstitutional because it did not require personal service, only notice by mail. The Court ruled that due process does not guarantee a property owner actual notice before the government takes the property. Instead, the landowner is entitled to a method of service “reasonably calculated” to provide timely notice.

March 7, 2023 | Kristine A. Tidgren

A recent case from the Iowa Supreme Court highlights the importance of carefully completing and reviewing beneficiary designations for IRAs and other retirement accounts.

January 29, 2023 | Kristine A. Tidgren

In a January 27, 2023, opinion, the Iowa Supreme Court found that a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship was converted to a tenancy in common when one of the owners transferred her undivided interest to a revocable living trust.

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