Amended Elective Share Statute Does not Include Funds in TOD Account

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Surviving spouses who receive little to no property from their deceased spouse under the terms of the will can choose to take an elective share of the deceased spouse’s estate. Typically, the spouse can receive one-third of the decedent’s real property, all exempt personal property held as head of the family, and one-third of other personal property not necessary for payment of debts and other charges. The Iowa Supreme Court in Sieh v. Sieh,1 previously reviewed the issue of whether additional property could be included within this designation because of the decedent’s control over the property. In the current case, the Court held that the 2005 legislative amendment to the spousal elective share statute was specific in its description of the type of assets included in the spousal share and that funds contained in a payable-on-death (POD) account were not within the statutory language.

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