March 14, 2018  Past Issues

Urgent action needed on probate court costs bill

One of the top priorities of the ISBA Affirmative Legislative Program for the past couple of years has been the probate cost bill, and this session is the closest it has ever been to passing.

SF 2234 and HF 2421 are companion bills which will clarify that assets which pass by operation of law will not be subject to the assessment of costs. The bills will address the disparity of how probate assets are treated from county to county, depending upon how court rulings have addressed the issue within a judicial district. The bills do have a fiscal impact of approximately $4.6 million. The ISBA legislative team has offered to have the bills amended to provide for an effective date of Jan. 1, 2019, which would cut in half the first-year fiscal impact.

The floor manager of the bill on the Senate side is lawyer-legislator Jim Carlin of Sioux City. The floor manager of the bill on the House side is lawyer-legislator Chip Baltimore. The House Ways and Means and Senate Ways and Means committees are where the bills are currently being considered. The ISBA urges you to communicate with the House and Senate committee members urging them to take action in their committees. You should also contact Statehouse leadership and urge them to have the bills debated and passed in their chambers, as well as write your own state representative and state senator urging them to support the legislation.

When you reach out to lawmakers, please also contact the ISBA legislative team to alert them to your communication:
Jim Carney
Doug Struyk
Jenny Dorman

Coming soon: New income protection program

The Iowa State Bar Association is continually looking for ways to enhance and strengthen its membership benefits. Recently, the ISBA identified a program that provides a unique opportunity for members: the Lloyd’s of London, Guaranteed Issue Disability Income Insurance Program. This program, offered to active members of The Iowa State Bar Association, allows you to purchase a high-limit lump sum benefit in the event you experience a career-ending injury or illness. 

This coverage is intended to provide a supplement to your current long-term disability (LTD) coverage or to provide a safety net if you do not have any existing coverage. This benefit will help you protect your lifestyle, future earnings growth, retirement planning and your family in the event you suffer a career-ending illness or injury.

Program Details:
• Lump sum benefit options available up to 10x your annual income, not to exceed $2,000,000
• Own occupation definition of disability 
• No health or financial evidence needed
• Discounted premiums

The enrollment period for this benefit begins April 2 and will extend to May 11. You can learn more here. Please look for additional information and enrollment instructions as the enrollment period begins.

IFTN offers Farm Succession Coordinator Certification Training

The International Farm Transition Network (IFTN) is offering a Farm Succession Coordinator Certification Training on April 30-May 2 in Red Oak. This training is for individuals interested in becoming a Certified Farm Succession Coordinator.

This program focuses on enhancing practitioners' ability to effectively navigate the 'soft issues' involved with farm families' farm succession planning process. More information and registration details can be found here.

Supreme Court adopts new rule of probate procedure, amendments to rules of civil procedure

Last week, Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady signed an order adopting new rule of probate procedure 7.8, and an order adopting clarifying amendments to the discovery reforms, expedited civil action (ECA) rule and trial scheduling forms. The effective date for both orders is Jan. 1, 2019.

To view the new rule of probate procedure, click on this link. For details on the amendments to the discovery forms, expedited civil action rule and trial scheduling forms, click here.


Upcoming CLE Reviews the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act”
Prof. Roger McEowen, Washburn University School of Law

“The Tax Cut and Jobs Act" significantly changes many important provisions of the tax code. A reduced rate for C corporations, a new deduction for sole proprietorship and pass-through businesses, including agricultural cooperatives, are just a few of the key changes. For individuals, the elimination of many itemized deductions in return for a practical doubling of the standard deduction, an enhanced child tax credit and additional dependency credits changes the tax planning landscape.

New cost recovery provisions, modified rules for losses, interest deductibility and cash accounting also provide new challenges to tax practitioners. Also, new transfer tax provisions alter the estate and succession planning equation for some clients. Attend to learn how the new rules will impact your practice.

Featured speakers will include Prof. Roger McEowen, Washburn University School of Law; Paul Neiffer, CliftonLarsonAllen; Michel Nelson, Iowa State Bank; Janice Kerkove, Bradley & Riley; Christine Halbrook, Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, PC; Paul Morf, Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman PLC; and Margaret Van Houten, Davis Brown Law Firm.

The seminar will be at ISBA headquarters or available via live webinar on May 18. Click here to register. Early bird pricing is available until April 15.

ABA Retirement Program to offer free webinar on managing retirement savings

The ABA Retirement Program is hosting a free webinar on Tuesday, March 27, from noon to 1 p.m. called: “Managing your retirement savings through life’s transitions.”

The webinar will explore the options available -- and the steps you can take -- at each stage of life’s transitions to help you make the right decisions, including important “to-dos” at each stage. Presenters will help you review your goals for retirement and your investment objectives while also minimizing taxes and penalties that can eat into your retirement savings and income. A detailed overview of the types of retirement plans available to you at all stages of your career and a “how to” on setting up these plans, particularly when becoming “of counsel,” will also be highlighted.

To register for the webinar, click here.

IRS: Refunds available for taxpayers not filing 2014 returns

If you have clients who didn’t file 2014 federal income tax returns, they may be eligible to receive a portion of $1.1 billion in unclaimed refunds from the IRS. The agency reports that an estimated one million taxpayers who didn’t file a 2014 federal return may be entitled to a refund.

Federal law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a tax refund. If they do not file a tax return within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury. This year the deadline for filing a 2014 return is Tuesday, April 17.

Approximately 10,500 Iowans are owed refunds, according to the IRS. Those refunds have a median value of $885 each.

Forms and instructions for filing a 2014 return are available at this link. Copies of missing Forms W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 for the year 2014 should be available from the taxpayer’s employer, bank or other payer. If not available, you can order a free wage and income transcript for the client at using the Get Transcript Online tool.


March 9

No. 15-2143
Wilma Jean Kellogg v. City of Albia
The City of Albia seeks further review of a court of appeals decision that concluded it was not immune from a homeowner’s nuisance suit and the statute of limitations did not bar recovery for claims related to flooding that occurred within two years of filing suit.

No. 15-2203
State of Iowa v. Rene Zarate
Defendant, a juvenile offender, challenges his sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after a minimum term of twenty-five years as cruel and unusual punishment under the Iowa and Federal Constitutions.

No. 16-0558
Joanne Cote v. Derby Insurance Agency, Inc., an Iowa Corporation, and Kevin Dorn, Individually
Employer seeks further review of court of appeals decision affirming district court ruling that corporation could not claim familymember exception to employee-numerosity requirement in Iowa Civil Rights Act.

No. 16-0575
State of Iowa v. K'Von James Henderson
A defendant appeals his conviction for first-degree robbery.

Supreme Court supermajority bill might violate Iowa Constitution
On March 6, the Iowa Senate approved legislation that would prevent the Iowa Supreme Court from declaring Iowa statutes unconstitutional unless it can muster a supermajority of five out of seven justices (Senate File 2282).
Des Moines Register

Iowa man who complained of odor sues town he says threatened him
An Iowa man who said his hometown smelled like "rancid dog food" because of an animal food processing plant sued the city Thursday after he says they threatened to silence him.

Iowa judge admits hundreds of his rulings were ghost-written by attorneys, raising a host of ethical and fairness concerns
A retired Plymouth County judge has admitted that "a couple hundred" of his rulings actually were written by attorneys involved in those same cases, sometimes without the knowledge of the opposing counsel.
Des Moines Register

Revealing identity of $560M Powerball winner would be invasion of privacy, judge rules
A New Hampshire judge has ruled that a woman who won $560 million in a Powerball jackpot is entitled to keep her identity secret.
ABA Journal



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Associate Attorney - Davis Brown Law Firm, Des Moines, IA

Attorney - Gislason & Hunter LLP, Des Moines, IA

Product Liability & Environmental Associate - Faegre Baker Daniels, Des Moines, IA

Lateral Attorneys - Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., Des Moines, IA

Attorney - Stanley, Lande & Hunter, Davenport, IA

Business and Estate Planning Attorney - Crary Huff Law Firm, Sioux City, IA

Litigation Attorney - Crary Huff Law Firm, Sioux City, IA

Paralegal - Wandro & Associates, P.C., Des Moines, IA

Director of Policy and Legal Services - Iowa Association of School Boards, Des Moines, IA

Counsel-Agri/Farm Insurance - Nationwide Insurance, Des Moines, IA

Associate Attorney - Bordwell Law Office, P.L.C., Washington, IA

Staff Attorney (SPED and AT) - Disability Rights Iowa, Des Moines, IA

Attorney - Stinson Leonard Street LLP, Mankato, MN

Associate Attorney - Stumme, Collins, Gritters & Epley, PLLC, Waverly, IA

Staff Attorney - Iowa Legal Aid, Des Moines, IA

Staff Attorney or Fully Accredited Representative - Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors, Des Moines, IA

Manager, GEICO Staff Counsel - GEICO Staff Counsel, Des Moines, IA

Managing Attorney - Legal Hotline for Older Iowans - Iowa Legal Aid, Des Moines, IA

Staff Attorney - Community Economic Development Project - Iowa Legal Aid, Des Moines, IA

Intellectual Property Attorney - BrownWinick Law Firm, Des Moines, IA

Assistant County Attorney I - Office of the Johnson County Attorney, Iowa City, IA


The following individual applied for admission on motion to the Iowa Bar:

Thomas C. Paschalis, Fletcher & Sippel LLC, Chicago, IL

Anyone with questions or comments on the above applicants should contact: Tre Critelli at the Office of Professional Regulation, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319; Phone: 515-725-8029.


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