Under Iowa law “next of kin” are generally the people entitled to take by intestate succession. Next of kin for purposes of intestate succession in Iowa are the:
- Surviving spouse
- Issue of deceased spouse
What Next of Kin Inherit Under Iowa Intestacy Law?
The next of kin intestate heirs of an Iowa decedent depend on the other people that survived the decedent. The order for intestate succession in Iowa can be found at Iowa Code sections 633.211 (share of surviving spouse if decedent left no issue or left issue all of whom are issue of surviving spouse), 633.212 (share of surviving spouse if decedent left issue some of whom are not issue of surviving spouse), and 633.219 (share of others than surviving spouse), and is set forth in the chart below.
Survivors of Decedent
Share of Intestate Estate
Surviving Spouse only
– Spouse inherits entire estate
Surviving spouse and issue all of whom are issue of surviving spouse
– Spouse inherits entire estate
Surviving spouse and issue some of whom are not issue of surviving spouse
– Spouse inherits ½ of real property and at least ½ of personal property, as long as value is at least $50,000. If less than $50,000, the difference is taken from the descendants’ share and added to the spouse’s
– Descendants inherit the rest of estate
Children, no surviving spouse
– Children inherit entire estate
Parents, no children, no surviving spouse
– Parents inherit equally, or survivor of parents inherits entire estate
– Siblings inherit entire estate in equal shares for mother’s issue and father’s issue
Grandparents or issue of grandparents
– Estate divided between paternal and maternal grandparents and issue
Great-grandparents or issue of great-grandparents
– Estate divided between paternal and maternal great-grandparents and issue
Issue of deceased spouse only
– If there is no one else, then the issue of the deceased spouse(s) inherits the estate
Absolutely no one
– The State of Iowa inherits the estate
It is very rare for the state of Iowa to inherit a decedent’s intestate estate, since there has to be no qualifying next of kin intestate heirs in order for the State of Iowa to inherit.
What Do Next of Kin Intestate Heirs Inherit In Iowa?
The next of kin intestate heirs under Iowa law inherit from the intestate probate estate. This means that the decedent has died without a will, and that Iowa law dictates who inherits the estate.
Just because a decedent dies without a will does not mean that they have probate assets for next of kin intestate heirs to inherit. Sometimes a decedent dies with only non-probate assets. Non-probate assets are assets such as life insurance policies with a designated beneficiary, a pay-on-death bank account, or a trust. See the Probate and Non-Probate Assets Chart.
Half-Relatives Are Treated Differently Than Whole Relatives Under Iowa Intestacy Law
Unlike the majority of states, Iowa treats “half” relatives differently than “whole” relatives for inheritance purposes under Iowa law.
The estate of the parent is divided into halves, one for each deceased parent. Iowa Code section 633.219.
For example, Ann died intestate and has two sisters – a whole sister, Betsy, and a half sister, Carol. All of them have the same mother, but Carol has a different father. Ann’s estate is divided into two parts (one for her mother’s line and one for her father’s line). The part for the mother’s line is divided between Betsy and Carol. The part for the father’s line passes to Betsy. Betsy receives ¾ of Ann’s estate, and Carol receives ¼ of Ann’s estate.