Monday, January 16, 2023
108 Iowa L. Rev. 901 (2023)

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Abstract

The Iowa State Legislature has considered the Real Property Transfer on Death Act three times since 2016. Each time it has failed to pass the legislation. This means Iowans are unable to transfer real property at death outside of probate. Without the Act, Iowans are subject to the time and expense of probate to transfer what is often their most valuable asset—real property. The Act would allow real property to pass outside of probate, easing the burden of transferring real property and simplifying the procedure. Iowans are unable to transfer real property in this manner, but their neighbors in Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota can. The legislature considered three bills, each reflecting the Uniform Law Commission’s Real Property Transfer on Death Act’s text. The language of each bill was similar, but not identical. The slight differences in word choice in each act may indeed be significant. The Act failed in the legislature due to opposition from lobbyists representing interest groups with concerns about its impact, combined with a lack of widespread interest in the legislature to pass it. In addition to comparing each bill, this analysis includes input from those involved in advancing the Act in Iowa, as well those opposed to it. This Note will argue that the Act should be passed in Iowa with adequate education and awareness of the Act’s benefits, and with certain textual changes to the proposed legislation that may address concerns about its passage.