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RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13497
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Is it legal to settle an estate without lawyer. Mother died

Customer Question

Is it legal to settle an estate without lawyer. Mother died in July, her will clearly states to divide assets between living children (there are 7 of us). This will was written after her only husband died in 1999. Assets are $ in checking and saving accounts + small amount in the market which has the 7 children names as beneficiaries.
JA: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Iowa
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Nothing filed yet. Her death has meet reported to SS and authorities via the funeral home. And my sister did call her lawyer but he never return her call.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: not that I know.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you. I am reviewing your question and will reply back shortly.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 8 months ago.

My condolences on your loss.

Unfortunately, Iowa law does require the use of an attorney to file for probate.

Under Iowa’s Probate Code, the executor or administrator of the estate “shall” file a “designation of the attorney employed by the fiduciary to assist in the administration of the estate“.

It’s not spelled out in the Probate Code, but it has to do with the old saying that anybody who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.

In other words, self-representation is not considered wise, but it is allowed in matters such as divorce or criminal cases because if the ‘client’ is being foolish, she is only hurting herself. The executor, on the other hand, is not representing himself or herself. Instead, the executor is a fiduciary, one charged with acting in the most responsible manner to protect the interests of others, in a fair and unbiased way. An executor who makes mistakes because he doesn’t have the advice of counsel could end up harming many people other than himself. Hence, the law requires the use of an attorney.

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Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 8 months ago.

Was there anything I could clarify for you or additional information you needed? If so, kindly REPLY and I'm happy to help further! If not, please kindly remember to leave a positive rating for me by clicking on the stars at the top of the page and pressing SUBMIT.

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