Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
My sympathies please as I look into this for you.
When a person has propery that is not addressed in the living will, there is generally what is called a pour over will that addresses this property. However, some people do not include this, and so the property not addressed in the will is probated, and passes via the laws of intestate succession (next of kin).
Information on probate here: http://www.iowabar.org/?page=LegalInfoProbate
In order to open probate one needs to petition the court:
633.229 PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATION OF AN INTESTATE ESTATE. The petition for administration of an intestate estate shall contain the following: 1. The name, domicile and date of death of the decedent. 2. If the decedent was domiciled outside the state at the time of the decedent's death, a statement that the decedent had property within the county in which the petition is filed, or any other basis for jurisdiction in such county. 3. The name and address of the surviving spouse, if any, and the name and address of each heir so far as known to the petitioner. 4. The estimated value of the personal property of the estate plus the estimated gross annual income of the estate during the period of administration.
P. 36 of this treatise explains the exact process: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.iowabar.org/resource/resmgr/CLE_materials/2014_Basic_Skills_Sept_Proba.pdf
--------------------------------------Here is a link to locate an attorney: http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm
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