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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June 1, 2022 | Tax Implications of a Farmland Lease

On June 24, 2022, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed that allowing the public to use an easement does not establish a public dedication. A landowner granted a written access easement to his family members and invitees. Because there was clear evidence the landowner did not intend to dedicate the easement, the Court affirmed that the driveway was not for public use.

On June 17, 2022, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed that the ten-day deadline to post a notice of commencement of work applies to general contractors, not subcontractors. See Iowa Code § 572.13A. After a developer defaulted on a residential project, the bank initiated a foreclosure action claiming to have priority over the mechanics’ liens filed by two subcontractors on the property. Considering the statute as whole, the Court concluded that the subcontractors properly filed the required notices and, thus, had priority over the bank’s mortgages.

On June 15, 2022, the Iowa Court of Appeals reversed a grant of summary judgment in a drainage dispute in favor of the City of Council Bluffs, the owner of the dominant estate. A couple alleged that improvements on the city property caused erosion and flood damage to the couple’s two servient properties. The court held that the express drainage easement only governed one property. Additionally, the statute of limitations did not bar the plaintiffs’ nuisance claim because the alleged offense was continuous rather permanent. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the city and remanded the action for further proceedings.

On May 6, 2022, the Iowa Supreme Court held that all claims involving administration of an estate must be asserted during the probate proceedings. A beneficiary of a will disputed the fees awarded to the personal representative of the estate. After the probate court reduced the fees awarded, the beneficiary initiated a separate lawsuit seeking damages. Because all estate administration disputes must first be raised during the probate proceedings, the Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the personal representative.

On May 6, 2022, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed that a drainage district improperly reclassified the benefits of a drainage tile repair project. A reclassification commission assessed the benefits conferred upon the railroad company at 100 percent because compliance with federal railroad safety regulations essentially doubled the cost of the project. The Court determined that only the benefit of the drainage repair project, not its cost, could be considered during reclassification.

On May 6, 2022, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed that court approval is required to modify an irrevocable trust once one of the settlors has died. After one spouse passed away, a couple’s joint trust became irrevocable. The surviving spouse attempted to modify the trust by obtaining the written consent of all the trust beneficiaries. The Court ruled that the amendment was invalid because irrevocable trusts may be modified by either obtaining the consent of all the settlors and beneficiaries or by obtaining court approval. Iowa Code § 633A.2202-.2203. Here, because one of the settlors had died, she could not provide her consent, and court approval was required.

On May 19th, 2021, Governor Reynolds signed SF 356 into law establishing the “Iowa Agricultural Tourism Promotion Act.” See Iowa Code § 673A et seq. Agricultural tourism is a growing industry in Iowa. In 2017, Iowa had 350 agri-tourism operations, an increase from 275 in 2012.

Photo with gavel, file folder, clock and money surrounding the word Probate spelled in wooden blocks
May 10, 2022 | By Jennifer Harrington

Probate is a court-supervised process for transferring assets after death. While the term “probate” often describes the process by which the court administers a will, probate may be required for those who die without a will as well. The probate process seeks to ensure an orderly transfer of assets, all the while protecting the rights of creditors and heirs.

May 3, 2022 | Jennifer Harrington

When someone dies with a will, a surviving family member or other person close to the decedent must ensure that the decedent’s wishes specified in the will are followed. This usually requires the will to be “probated” or submitted to and administered by the court in the jurisdiction where the decedent lived.

When someone dies, another individual will need to handle the affairs of the deceased individual.

On April 27, 2022, the Iowa Court of Appeals determined that the district court’s grant of summary judgment was not appropriate because genuine issues of material facts existed in a case involving the priority of competing perfected security interests and agricultural-supply-dealer liens. After a dairy operation liquidated its assets, there were insufficient proceeds to satisfy all claims against the farm. A financial institution and a feed dealer each claimed to have priority to these proceeds. Because the record did not adequately provide the facts necessary to resolve the dispute under Iowa Code chapters 554 and 570A, the court denied both parties’ motions for summary judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings.

On April 13, 2022, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed that two plaintiffs established a boundary by acquiescence. The plaintiffs and their predecessors openly used a twenty-foot-wide strip of land between a fence on the adjoining property and the true boundary line for at least a ten-year period. The Court of Appeals found that the neighboring landowners were on notice that the plaintiffs used the disputed property; therefore, they consented to the fence as the boundary line.

On March 2, 2022, the Iowa Court of Appeals upheld a district court’s award of three parcels of farmland to a former husband through a divorce decree. The farmland was distributed from partnership interests the husband’s parents had gifted him during the marriage. The former wife argued on appeal that the real estate was marital property because the partnership interests were compensation for the work the husband did for the family farm business. The court of appeals disagreed. The court did agree, however, that the wife was entitled to a larger alimony award.

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