Get Your Iowa Last Will and Testament Fast
Create your last will and testament forms quickly and easily from the convenience of home. With FindLaw’s guided process, you can create your Iowa will in under an hour.
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Reliable Iowa Will Forms in No Time
If you die without a will in Iowa, your property will be distributed according to certain default state laws (known as “intestacy law”). These laws might not perfectly align with your preferences if you have a unique family situation such as a blended family, special needs children, or an unmarried partner. With a valid Iowa will, you can make your own choices and provide for the distribution of your assets as you see fit.
Iowa Will Options for You and Your Family
Last Will and Testament
For One Person
A do-it-yourself last will that’s easy to personalize.
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Estate Planning Package
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All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan.
How It Works
It only takes minutes to control your future. Need help? Contact one of our directory attorneys.
Answer Key Questions
In order to get started, you need a list of your assets, accounts, contact information of important people, and wishes for the future.
Create an Account
Creating an account is easy, quick, and secure. Save your information as you go and return when you have time.
We Create Your Document
We’ve done the hard part by researching and developing your state-specific form. You simply need to follow our clear process.
Print, Sign & Make It Legal
Print and sign your documents according to the instructions. This may include signing in front of witnesses or a notary.
What’s Next To Make My Iowa Will Valid?
Validate your Iowa will by following these steps: See full process
List your assets and debts
By providing a full list of your assets and debts, you (the “testator“) can help your executor administer your estate efficiently. Make sure to list all of your real property and personal property in this inventory. Real property is real estate like your house, vacation homes, and land. Personal property includes all of your other possessions such as bank accounts, personal possessions, furniture, jewelry, and vehicles. If you can include a list of your debts, this will help your executor to speed up the probate process.
Choose a personal representative
Being a personal representative is an important job that can be time-consuming. You should choose someone who is willing to serve and who is trustworthy and responsible, and you should select one or two alternates who will serve if your first choice cannot. Your personal representative must be an adult and of sound mind to serve. A personal representative will manage your estate during probate and will have many duties, including:
- Identifying, collecting, and protecting your assets
- Making an inventory of your assets
- Notifying your creditors
- Paying your estate’s expenses and taxes
- Distributing your assets to your devisees as instructed by your will
Your personal representative can hire attorneys, accountants, and other professionals to help them manage your estate.
Name your beneficiaries
Your beneficiaries are the people or entities you would like to leave your assets to. Beneficiaries can be people, such as friends and family. They might also include charitable organizations or trusts if you so choose. You may need to create trusts if you have loved ones who need someone to manage their finances for them. Parents often create a trust for minor children and special needs children. With a trust, you can name someone (a trustee) to manage your child’s finances for them. If you have beloved pets, you could consider providing for your pet’s care by naming a pet trust as a beneficiary to your will.
Choose your executor
Your executor, or personal representative, is the person who will collect your assets, pay off your debts, and distribute your remaining property according to your instructions. You should choose someone who is at least 18 years old to perform this task. Many people choose a spouse, adult child, or other close relative who they trust. If you do not choose an executor, the probate court will choose one for you.
Sign your will
Choose guardians for your minor children
Find a secure place to store your last will and testament
You should let your family know about your will once it is complete. Make sure to give a copy to your executor and your attorney if you have one. Finally, it’s a good idea to store a copy of your will in a secure place. Many people choose a locked safe that a trusted person has access to.
You May Want To Speak With a Lawyer if You:
- Have a past divorce, blended family, or other complex family situation
- Have a high-value estate
- Own a business
- Want to create a special needs trust
- Want legal review of your completed will
Ready to get started on your Iowa will? It’s free to start.Create My Will
Iowa Last Will and Testament FAQs
If you die without a valid will in place, your assets will be distributed according to Iowa’s default laws. These are known as “intestate succession,” or “intestacy” laws. They favor spouses and children as the primary heirs to an estate. But Iowa’s default laws may not perfectly align with your wishes for your estate.
If you have a blended family, special needs children, family conflict, or other special circumstances, a better plan is to create a valid will. A will allows you to decide how to distribute your assets as you see fit rather than relying on the state’s default laws. With FindLaw, you can create your will in under an hour and for only $59.
Iowa, like most states, has certain legal requirements to make a will valid:
- It must be in writing
- You must sign your will or direct someone to sign it for you
- You must be of “full age.” In Iowa, this means you must be at least 18 years old or married. In Iowa, a married person is considered to be of “full age” even if they are under 18. This is true even if the marriage ends in divorce.
- You must have two competent persons witness and sign your will. The witnesses should be at least 16 years old and of sound mind. They should also not be beneficiaries of your will. In other words, they should be “disinterested” witnesses.
A last will and testament is the primary estate planning document. It is an enforceable legal document that you use to specify how you would like your assets to be distributed after your death. You can also use it to name guardians for minor children.
A living will, sometimes called an advance health care directive, does not replace a last will and testament. If you were ever to become incapacitated and unable to make your own medical decisions, your medical providers and family would use your living will to make health care decisions according to your preferences. A living will, however, does not distribute property and is only valid during your lifetime.
No. A fully handwritten, unwitnessed will is called a holographic will. In some states, holographic wills are recognized as legally valid. Iowa law, however, does not recognize handwritten, unwitnessed wills.
A possible exception to this may be if you wrote the will in a state that does recognize holographic wills and later brought it to Iowa. To save your family from conflict and legal problems regarding your estate, you should avoid handwriting your Iowa will. With FindLaw, you can create a legally valid will from the comfort of home in under one hour.
No, you do not have to notarize your will to make it legally valid in the state of Iowa. You only need a notary to make your will self-proving. With a self-proving will, the probate court accepts the will as your authentic last will and testament without needing to call the witnesses to testify.
Iowa statutes provide a self-proving affidavit form. To make your will self-proving, you and your witnesses should swear to this affidavit in front of a notary. By taking this extra step, you can save your witnesses from the stress of having to testify to the validity of your will in front of a probate court. It may also speed up the administration of your estate.
You can distribute most of your property through your Iowa will, with some exceptions. If you own property jointly, this property will pass automatically to your joint owners. You cannot change this through your will.
Certain retirement accounts allow you to name beneficiaries. If you have a retirement account with named beneficiaries or a life insurance policy, you cannot change your beneficiaries through your will. You would need to contact the financial institutions to change your beneficiary designations.
You cannot disinherit your spouse in the state of Iowa. Even if you leave them nothing in your will, they still have the right to claim an elective share of your estate. This share is equal to about one-third of the estate.
If you go through a divorce after you sign your will, it will affect any gifts you leave to your spouse. Any provisions leaving an inheritance to your spouse will be voided by the divorce. But if you were to happen to remarry your spouse, the provisions would be reinstated under Iowa law.
To change your will, you need to either write an amendment to your will (called a “codicil“) or write a new will that revokes all prior wills. If you would like to make minor adjustments to your will, a codicil should be sufficient. However, if you would like to make major changes, you should create a new will. When significant life events occur, you probably need to make a new will. Significant life events include:
- Death of a loved one
- Birth or adoption of a child or grandchild
- Sale of a business
If any of the above situations have occurred since you wrote your will, you should review it to see if you need to change your designations. You may even need to add or remove beneficiaries. Keep in mind that if you create a will through FindLaw, you can make changes to your will for a full year after purchase.
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